|Meet the Fockers|
|HD DVD Comedy|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Saturday, 01 December 2007|
"Meet the Fockers", directed by Jay Roach, accomplishes what most sequels fail miserably at – to equal or best the original. This is one sequel that manages to bring in laughs by the barrel.
Most of us remember the comedic performances in "Meet the Parents". Well, the gang's all here in the sequel, with the addition of two more veterans to the screen. Robert De Niro returns as Jack Byrnes, retired CIA agent, still hot to expel Greg from his "circle of trust". Of course, Ben Stiller is back to play Gaylord "Greg" Focker (you just can't make up names like that anymore). Rounding out the returning cast are Teri Polo as Greg's fiancée, Pam Byrnes, and Blythe Danner as Pam's mother, Dina. Even Owen Wilson comes back to make a cameo.
Two shining additions to the sequel are Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand as Greg's parents, Bernie and Rozalin Focker. Yes, you read that right, Barbara Streisand plays Greg's mother. In all honestly, she really plays the part well.
It wouldn't be a "Meet the Parents" sequel without Jinx the cat, and a new enemy for Jinx, Moses the dog.
In "Meet the Fockers" Pam and Greg feel it is time for their parents to meet each other. Everyone is apprehensive about the forthcoming nuptials and family meetings, which is a perfect setup for a comedy.
In a last minute change, Greg, Pam, Dina, Jack, and Pam's nephew, Little Jack drive down to Florida in a giant hotel on wheels (an RV), instead of fly. The RV-bunch arrive at Greg's parent's house, where Bernie and Rozalin are pleasantly surprised at the early arrival. Greg's parents could not be more opposite than Jack, with Dina landing somewhere in the middle. Jack is ultra-conservative whereas the Fockers are ultra-liberal. Bernie is an ex-lawyer, now stay-at-home dad, while Rozalin is a sex therapist.
The film delivers plenty of scenes to laugh at, while still conveying an interesting plot. Through a series of chance meetings, Jack feels his nailed Greg's apparent secret – a 15 year-old son. Jack can't help but to interfere and stops at nothing to prove to Pam that Greg is not a fit husband. Unbeknownst to Jack, Pam has revealed to Greg that she is pregnant. This news quickly spread throughout the parents, with the exception of anyone telling Jack. This is a nice bit of irony in a comedic film. Jack feels like his years in the CIA has trained him to be, as the first film puts it, "a human lie detector". However, he is the only one that cannot discover Pam's secret.
Meanwhile, Jack and Dina's love life suffers tremendously. Rozalin takes it upon herself to reignite the sexual chemistry between Jack and Dina.
Like with all comedies, there are numerous scenes that defy commonsense. For example, in the scene where Moses chases Jinx into the RV's bathroom, the writer's make a classic blunder. Moses leaps to attack Jinx, but lands in the RV toilet. Jinx sits on top with his paw on the flush button. The entire gang stands there in the doorway, a mere two feet away, and do…absolutely nothing. Moses is in the toilet bowl, with too small of legs to climb out, and four people stand at the doorway watching. It doesn't take a whole of lot of commonsense to reach out and grab Moses (who is about the size of a chihuahua). Any viewer watching that scene cannot find any believability in it.
Another scene that isn't really believable is the truth serum scene. Jack injects Greg with a needle full of sodium pentothal, aka truth serum in the bathroom of a restaurant. Somehow, Greg emerges from the bathroom with no recollection of being injected. The explanation for this is Jack informing Greg in the bathroom, "You won't remember any of this." Just because you say it, doesn't make it true. So, Greg emerges, and now he acts like he is extremely drunk. Since when does truth serum make you drunk? I don't recall that as one of the side effects. Greg gets on stage and spills his guts about everything, Pam's breasts, pregnancy, Dina's hotness, and his alleged son. Just as he finishes everything that needs to be told for the plot to move on, he passes out. Also, he tells everyone at the party that he has a son. However, it is not something truthful, so truth serum would have nothing to do with him saying it. Truth serum influences you to hopefully tell the truth in response to questions. It does not make you just want to voluntarily go blab your life secrets to people. Person's injected with truth serum can still mix truth and fiction. This scene just furthers the misconception of what truth serum actually does.
This particular HD DVD movie does not shine in terms of video quality. From the get go, grainy scenes begin to plague the movie. Dot crawl is evident on scenes with the color red. You can see this especially in the red sweater vest that is worn by Robert De Niro. There is also fluctuation in the whites and other bright spots. What are truly distracting are the blown out practicals in the shots. The lamps are overly bright, with severe fuzz around the edges. Fuzzy edges appear throughout the film in places ranging from lampshades to an actor's shoulders. The film does have wonderful colors and contrast, however these are over-shadowed by poor edges and luminosity.
This HD DVD contains a Dolby Digital Plus audio track. It is very lack luster, and for all intensive purposes could probably have been a mono soundtrack. Rarely were there discreet effects in the front left and rights, and I cannot recall the surround channels being used more than once. This is not to say that the audio track on the HD DVD is bad, it simply means that the film does not allow for any creative sound design.
As for special features, this disc contains the all the features from the standard DVD edition of the film. And, of course, they were not re-mastered into high definition.
First up is the commentary with director Jay Roach and editor/producer, Jon Poll. It is a so-so commentary, with only some minor revelations.
Next up are about 20 or so deleted scenes, and 65 bloopers. To no surprise, given the all-star comedic cast, most all of these clips are pretty hilarious. However, the video quality was outrageously poor and was too much of a distraction to thoroughly enjoy the scenes.
There are four featurettes included on the disc. First is, "Inside The Litter Box: Behind The Scenes with Jinx the Cat". This featurette covers Jinx's character through both the first and second films. Cast and crew are interviewed and talk about Jinx as a "demanding actor". It is cute, but not very informative. Next is "The Manary Gland", which is a discussion on how the creators came up with the idea for the fake breast-feeding contraption. "The Adventures of a Baby Wrangler", enlightens us about working with small children on the set. "Matt Lauer Meet The Fockers" is an interview with the entire cast of the film. And finally the "Focker Family Portrait", interviews Dustin Hoffman, Barbara Streisand, and Ben Stiller on the Focker relationships.
"Meet the Fockers" is an excellent sequel that only has a few instances of non-believability. The only thing I wished there was more of in this film was Jinx the cat. He was given a starring role in the first film, but in the sequel, his presence just wasn't felt. This definitely isn't an HD DVD video or audio demo disc, but then again, seldom is a comedy film. Still, "Meet the Fockers" will surely make your stomach hurt from laughter.