With Little Fockers, Robert DeNiro has officially jumped the shark.
Lest there be any doubt about it, the theme from Jaws plays as he jumps into a ball pit during his grandkids’ birthday party. It really can’t be much more obvious, can it? It’s as if the saps behind this god-awful movie are in on a joke, and no one bothered to tell Mr. DeNiro.
Yes, Little Fockers really is that bad.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Two men are mistaken for a gay couple by an attractive woman. But they’re slow to catch on that the woman thinks they’re gay, so there are several minutes of double entrendre-laced banter until the men finally do catch on and then protest loudly that they’re in fact straight.
OK, how about when a little kid is sitting at the dinner table one night and asks, for no apparent reason, “Dad, can a woman poop out of her vagina?”
The third (and hopefully last) in the Meet the Parents franchise is as solidly disappointing as anything to hit screens this year, especially since I still laugh thinking about the hilarity of the first movie.
Little Fockers begins with Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and wife Pam (Teri Polo) planning their twins’ birthday party. At the same time, Greg’s father-in-law Jack Byrnes (DeNiro) is in his dungeon, which is still stuffed to the gills with ‘toys’ from his covert ops days. He’s traced the Focker/Byrnes family tree all the way back to 1643, and he’s decided he wants Greg to be the ‘God-Focker’ of the family (how DeNiro kept a straight face in that scene is a mystery). This is all because Jack is feeling mortal after experiencing heart palpitations. Later he has a heart attack but fortunately has the presence of mind to defibrillate himself using the leads from his CIA-issue lie detector. The living room lights flicker, a cat yelps, and we’re supposed to laugh.
But wait, there’s more.
Greg’s mom (Barbra Streisand) is now the host of her own talk show. The punch line, though, is that it’s a sex talk show, and she uses it as a forum for talking about her son’s penchant for masturbation and for hawking musical condoms (apparently, the harder you go at it, the louder and faster the music gets.)
Not too long ago, Dustin Hoffman was winning his second Oscar, DeNiro was among the most respected actors in the biz (with two Oscars himself), and Barbra was so adored she was selling out Vegas at $2000 a ticket.
“How are the mighty fallen” doesn’t even begin to cover it.
And then there’s Jessica Alba, who plays a super-perky, ultra-huggy drug rep who’s vocabulary is frequently peppered with hip phrases like “dope!” and “rockin’!” She convinces Greg to promote her newest product– Sustengo, an erectile dysfunction drug that’s also been proven effective in treating…. wait for it… yes, heart patients. Anyone not see where this one’s going?
Of course you do. And it’s then that we get treated to perhaps the most cringe-worthy moment on film this year– Greg giving his er… stiff father-in-law Jack a penile adrenaline shot to make the er… little soldier stop saluting. And, yes, Greg’s troubled son just happens to trip on this scene, mid-injection.
The poor little guy was probably scarred for life after seeing that.
I know the feeling, kid. I sat through the whole movie.