The year was 1974; Dustin Hoffman was about to receive his third Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for his gut wrenching work in Bob Fosse’s Lenny, Robert de Niro had established new acting standards with his performance in The Godfather Part II and Barbra Streisand was perhaps the biggest female star on the planet.
Fast forward three decades and the once groundbreaking artists are making fools of themselves in Little Fockers, a film whose only admirable feat is that it even got made. Devoid of any of the inventive humor that made its first installment funny and sincere if uninventive, this franchise has been squeezed so much over the last decade that the only thing that might elicit a giggle from this one is its title.
The rest is more of the same, as retired CIA agent Jack (de Niro) makes his son-in-law Greg’s (Ben Stiller) life a living hell. By this point the films have achieved a formula: at the beginning Jack learns something that alters his mind, he assumes Greg has something to do with it and proceeds to try and make him divorce his daughter (Teri Polo). After a series of misunderstandings, increasing scatological humor and, ultimately, group hugs, Jack and Greg make peace…at least until the next movie.
The jokes in this one fall flat and while you can detect that director Paul Weitz had the strange intention to pay tribute to seminal 70’s cinema (there are recurring jokes about The Godfather, Jaws and other 70’s landmarks), sadly the only thing these moments achieve is to remind us of how glorious these actors once were.
However, it’s safe to say that Streisand, de Niro and Hoffman are the best things in the movie (kudos also to Blythe Danner for playing Jack’s wife and talking about senior-citizen role play with such dignity) because the younger cast comes off looking as if they need training wheels, even to deliver crappy comedy.
Little Fockers is playing now in theaters everywhere in Costa Rica. English with Spanish subtitles.
Movie theaters in San Jose, Costa Rica: Cinemark del Este, Cinemark Escazú, CCM Cinemas San Pedro and Paseo de las Flores, Cinépolis Terramall, Cinépolis Desamparados, NOVA Cinemas