Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Meet the Parents/ Fockers

(2000, 2004)

We had seen the first one but I didn’t remember it very well, except there was some business with a cat. So when the DVD of the second one came out we rented the first and saw it again. Funny. That genre of comedy that relies on a string of humiliating moments, which can be awful but Ben Stiller is probably the best there is at that baffled expression as if he’s been hit over the head with a lead pipe. Why is this all happening to me?

The main reason I wanted to see the sequel, which got bad reviews but made a ton of money, was the same reason I wanted to see Monster-in-Law. Why did Fonda and Streisand pick these things to return to the screen after long absences?

Well, we saw it, and I don’t have the answer. Meet the Fockers was not as bad as I’d expected. In fact, we were laughing a lot for the first hour. Okay, so it’s potty humor. I’m not proud, if the material is funny and it’s being presented in a funny way, I’ll laugh instead of spending time worrying that this is somehow beneath me. Streisand and Hoffman are good. But it really, really ran out of steam in the third act. It wasn’t able to shift from the ribald humor to the “let’s everybody make up and like each other despite the fact that we hate each other” heartwarming part. We didn’t laugh again until the very end, with some funny extra material during the end credits.