Meet the Fockers DVD Review

There are four names across the top of the DVD case for "Meet the Fockers." Everyone one of them is talented, well known, and experienced. In other words, they should know better than to be in a movie like this.

Everything that "Meet the Parents" did right, 'Meet the Fockers" does wrong. The set up is a good one, getting together the Byrne's family with the Fockers before the big wedding date. It's unfortunate that everything here is entirely predictable. If it's not predictable, then it's so absurd as to be unbelievable. These aren't people, they're nut jobs that escaped from some penitentiary. That goes for the parents on both sides of the family.

Robert DeNiro's role here is way beyond ridiculous. The first film at least made him out to a little over the top, yet still funny. Here he's managed to build some secret CIA spy facility inside his new motor home that kills any credibility. Dustin Hoffman and Barbara Streisand fall into the same trap of absurdity. Their dog is funnier than all of the actors put together.

Most of this falls in the lap of the writers. Hoffman has plenty of energy, just nothing to work with. Most of these jokes and quips wouldn't even be acceptable on a sitcom let alone a feature film. His character is far too unbelievable to actually accept the situations he's thrown in. The old tired Focker jokes are brought out again and this time they're not even remotely funny, especially during the family reunion.

It's sad to see this now series take a nosedive. The first film was brilliant, relying on Stiller to carry it. Here, it's all about giving the highest paid actors screen time without any thought as to a script to put them in. Maybe the inevitable third sequel will pull this one out a very deep, large, rut. (** out of *****)

The transfer in the early going is about as good as the film. It's one of the ugliest major studio transfers in years. There's heavy grain, the colors are dull, and edge enhancement is absurd. It goes on like this for at least an hour until things pick up a bit. The detail then steps up a bit, and even then, the print has some damage that shows though. Still, it's not enough to make up for the unexplainable first half. (**)

As expected, this is entirely powered by the front speakers. There's not a single moment where the rear speakers find work. It's crisp and clean as far as dialogue goes. There are moments where it could offer some ambience, but there's nothing. It's one of those movies that didn't need the advent of 5.1 audio. (***)

On this disc, there are two separate versions of the film. The extended cut splices a few deleted scenes back into the film rather crudely, without even cleaning up the video. At least you know what the new scenes are unlike many other cuts like this. You can listen to a commentary track too from director Jay Roach and co-producer Jon Poll.

There are 15-minutes worth of deleted scenes (separate from the extended cut) to view. Most of these are wise cuts, though the final one would have tied up a loose end. The 11-minute blooper reel is more entertaining than any scene in the film. It's great that they had so much fun making it; it's a shame it's not so much to watch it.

"Inside the Litterbox: Behind the Scenes with Jinx the Cat" is a four minute feature on, obviously, the cat. Everyone acts as if he was the most important actor on the set. It's the type of thing that's been done before. "The Manary Gland" is a 2-minute look at how the prop you'll never forget was created.

"The Fockers' Family Portrait" splits into three separate featurettes, one for each cast member. They discuss their characters without anything particularly mentionable. "Adventures of a Baby Wrangler" runs for about 6-minutes, showing how the baby actors are handled. "Matt Lauer Meets the Fockers" is a promotional interview and nothing more. Finally, there's a promo for "Scrubs" on NBC. (***)

There's little to discuss about the "Meet the Fockers" other than how it's a golden example of a missed opportunity. There's not explanation for how movie with this cast could fail this miserably, but it does, and on every level. If you have fond memories of the original film, don't spoil them with this disgrace.

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