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LITTLE FOCKERS, 2010
It has taken 10 years, two little Fockers with wife Pam (Polo) and countless hurdles for Greg to finally get "in" with his tightly wound father-in-law, Jack. After the cash-strapped dad takes a job moonlighting for a drug company, however, Jack's suspicions about his favorite male nurse come roaring back. When Greg and Pam's entire clan-including Pam's lovelorn ex, Kevin (Owen Wilson)-descends for the twins' birthday party, Greg must prove to the skeptical Jack that he's fully capable as the man of the house.
Release Date: 24 December 2010 (USA)
We were having a Christmas dinner on the 23rd with friends and co-workers of this WILDsound site and festival. It was a fun night and of course movies were brought into the conversation many times. We all seem to have similar interests.... that is until the Focker/Meet the Parents movies came up.
For most people in my daily interactions, they have no understanding of films like this. There is an elitist sentiment that these are movies that are not on par with their personal intelligence levels. That Ben Stiller keeps playing the same character over and over again, and Robert DeNiro is a sell-out who's career went down the tubes.
People at the party were criticizing the film even though they never even saw it. This type of criticism usually comes from people who fall on the far-left or far-right on the political scale. Judgement before ever experiencing it. And judgement no matter if they saw it anyway because there mind is already made up and their no going to change it because of their own personal ego.
First off, Ben Stiller does play that same character most of the time (the awkward but cute but insecure but still a man who fights his fears guy) because he's a master at playing this role. And name me any other movie star who doesn't play the same role over and over again. They all do.
And second of all, people don't seem to get Robert DeNiro's second half career. Here's a guy who mastered the art of playing dramatic characters. He'll be known as one of the greatest actor's ever, as he has received every acting award known to man, and raised the stakes for every other future actor on the planet by going above and beyond playing the roles he played. He gained weight. He lost weight. He build his body up to body builder form. He even became a real life Taxi Driver for 2 months before playing Travis Bickle.
So I'm sure DeNiro thought he really did everything an actor could do.... except mastering the art of playing comedy. A lot of actors who started off in comedy have made the turn at playing dramatic roles: Tom Hanks, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Bruce Willis, and any other of the many stand up comedians who did their dramatic stints on a Law & Order episode to prove their worth. But rarely does a dramatic actor attempt at playing comedy succeed. And that's what DeNiro is trying to master.
The baby boomers and Generation Xers will know the Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver, Raging Bull, Goodfellas. And the Generation Ys and Zs will know him as old guy in those comedy movies.
And if you're paying attention and not judging too early, you'll notice that DeNiro is very good in these films. Some will say exceptional.
So my elitist friends are really missing something magical. Little Fockers is just a fun film to watch with actors doing the roles they are excellent at playing.
Sometimes we just want to see the actors we grew up with playing the same roles in the same films we saw when we became a fan of them. Most of us usually don't like change in any form. DeNiro never sold out. In fact, he did the exact opposite. He reinvented himself in mid-stream. And I challenge anyone to do that in their own career when they are in their early 50s.
And they are missing excellence because of their own preconceptions. Poor them.