Whoosh! Did someone say getting married was a decision that one can take for
oneself? Must be true for some and they may be better off for it. What a pity,
then, that of all people, a guy with a name like Gaylord Focker thinks that he
has to please his girlfriend's parents to push the ring up her finger. Not only
that, he's one of that rare breed of professionals - male nurses. Sounds like
just the plot for the Farrelly brothers, right? Could've been, but someone beat
them to the mark. The Austin Powers' director, Jay Roach (quite a name
in itself), seems to be quite a nasty fellow himself.
Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) - the first is an improvement on the original - is just the character to be played by Ben Stiller. His girlfriend Pam's (Teri Polo) father, Jack Burns (De Niro), is just the kind of guy he's better off without pleasing. Not even an assurance from Pam that 'all humor will be lost on them (the parents)' does make him any wiser. The result is a desperate attempt to avoid smoking, shagging and speaking the truth. The fallout of that is the desecration of Jack's mother's remains, a failed polygraph test (Jack is an ex-CIA agent), a garden flooded with shit, a burnt altar and a red-faced Pam!
All this may sound commonplace but for the inspired, and at the same time ridiculous,
pairing of De Niro and Stiller. Could there be two more different actors facing
off in the same movie? Stiller is the hesitant, desperate guy and the butt of
all not-so-decent jokes: he's made such characters all his own since ... Mary.
Wonder how he looks without that dumb look on his face! Maybe, he won't have a
face without it. I just fear the day he's given the role of a serious lecturer
What about De Niro then? The shocking intensity of his performance in Raging
Bull, all those years ago, is still fresh in our minds, and here he pulls
off a farce with the same malice as Jack la Motta (the character in Raging
Bull) would've shown. His talent makes the character look simply eccentric
instead of caricaturish, which it may have done in someone else' hands.
Teri Polo and Blythe Danner (she plays her mom) are on the sidelines, but look
fine. Owen Wilson is utterly wasted in the role of Pam's ex-flame. We all know
what he can do from his performance in Shanghai Noon, but in the absence
of anything substantial, his ineffectual looks make his presence irritating.
Except for the rather dry part in the middle, the movie is just the kind of thing
to loosen you up on the weekends.