Ben Stiller returns as Gaylord ‘Greg’ Focker and Robert DeNiro returns as Jack Byrnes, the father-in-law from hell, in this third outing in the ‘Meet the Parents’ series. In fact, everyone is back, including Barbra Streisand, Dustin Hoffman, Blythe Danner, and Owen Wilson. (Reportedly, Hoffman wasn’t in the first cut of the film because his paycheck demands were too high. But after seeing the first cut, DeNiro and company decided he was worth the millions he demanded, and they added a few scenes in re-shoots at his full salary request. Hoffman’s good, but he ain’t that good.)
In this second sequel, we also get Jessica Alba as a pharmaceutical sales rep who’s trying to get close with Stiller. And there’s even a small role of Harvey Keitel as a contractor. But the plot is really inconsequential. This movie is all about the comedy. And there’s plenty of it. The humor is cheap, physical, uncomfortable, and gross-out. But it’s also hilarious. I probably laughed harder during this film than any other this year. Even when I saw the jokes coming a mile away, the execution was so good I still howled. And that’s impressive.
Early reviews of this film are atrocious. But I’m going against the grain. I agree, this isn’t an important film. And there’s nothing new or unpredictable about it. But it’s funny. Really funny.
Grade: B+ (and close to an A-)