By Miv Evans
I can't remember much about the first two Focker films, which isn't a particularly good sign, but I know for sure I will never forget the third, and not because I was entertained.
This latest addition to the series is juvenile, hackneyed, without one funny moment and all other comedies can now be judged with a simple "Was it as bad as Little Fockers?"
Both sets of in-laws are going to join Greg (Ben Stiller) and Pam (Teri Polo) for their grandchildren's fifth birthday. Meanwhile, Greg has been offered a commission by a drug rep, Andi, to promote the latest version of Viagra. Jack (Robert De Niro) becomes suspicious about his son-in-law's relationship with the attractive Andi and tries to engineer a marital split, despite the couple claiming that they are still in love.
The definition of a farce, which is the only genre this film can be described as, is "a light dramatic work in which improbable situations and exaggerated characters are used for humorous effect".
Jack and Andi are both exaggerated (psychotic tyrant and over-excited hussy), but Greg is very ordinary and, as most of the screen time is taken up with these three, comes over as a big fat nothing and makes the other two look like caricatures.
As regards the other characters, Teri Polo and Blythe Danner (Jack's wife) are given little to do so hang around like talking statues and Mr & Mrs Focker (Streisand and Hoffman) have virtually no interaction with anyone, including each other, so presumably they got the gig simply so their star studded names could be included in the line-up.
This film does, however, score on the "improbable situations" aspect of the farce but, because nothing of any consequence has been created, there is nothing to resolve at the end. The writer is all too aware of this so doesn't waste time on any kind of story resolution and simply lets Jack deliver one single sentence and then, bam, the credits roll. Under the circumstances, this sharp exit was appreciated.
And finally, we come to the cell phones that never stop ringing, which not only indicates a lack of face to face communication and is also extremely irritating. This method of storytelling also had the unwelcome side-effect of making the audience take out their own phones to look at the time, or it could possibly be that they're all like me and, call us old fashioned, but we really do prefer it if our comedy makes us laugh.
Miv Evans is a British businesswoman who relocated to Los Angeles in 2005. She previously had a comedy drama commissioned by BBC TV and sold her first film to REN Media International in 2008 which she wrote, directed and produced.