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Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011 05:41 am

Fockers overstays welcome

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There’s an air of desperation about Little Fockers. My impression is those involved knew they were on this franchise’s final lap. The formula behind these films employs the Rube Goldberg method of comedy. How many different ways can poor Gaylord Focker (Ben Stiller) find himself in an awkward situation and how far can it get out of hand? It’s a solid enough premise for a comedy but with anything that follows the same pattern again and again, the law of diminishing returns eventually proves to be its downfall.

Such is the case with Fockers, which isn’t that much worse than the previous installment with the only difference being that it’s much cruder. When you’re digging in the erectile dysfunction mine for laughs, you know you’ve hit bottom. While I did find funny the gag involving Focker giving his ever-uptight father-in-law Jack (Robert DeNiro) a penile injection to counteract the side effects of an erectile dysfunction drug, the fact that the film’s climax revolves around a fistfight in a pit of plastic balls at a children’s birthday party is clear evidence the franchise has jumped the shark.

Plot? Same old same old – Jack is out to prove that Focker is not worthy of his daughter, misunderstandings occur, chaos ensues and everyone suffers. Story isn’t important in movies like this. Its only purpose is to reintroduce the characters, remind us of the rules the franchise operates under and make sure the film reaches the 90-minute mark. Director Paul Weitz and his cast just want to give their audience what they want and Fockers does succeed in doing that. However, the novelty has worn off where this clan is concerned and it would be in everyone’s best interest that another reunion be scuttled as soon as possible. The depths they would have to sink to, are too frightening to contemplate.

Contact Chuck Koplinski at ckoplinski@usd116.org.

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