All-star cast can't save 'Little Fockers'

2010-12-21T12:55:00Z 2011-01-27T16:45:32Z All-star cast can't save 'Little Fockers'BY JOE WILLIAMS • Post-Dispatch Film Critic > joewilliams@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8344 stltoday.com

"Little Fockers" is more than a little disappointing. Despite the distasteful title, this second sequel to the genuinely funny "Meet the Parents" is not primarily about the toddler twins of nebbishy nurse Greg Focker (Ben Stiller). Nor is it about his oversexed parents (Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman, who are barely in the movie at all), his CIA-agent father-in-law (Robert De Niro, who ought to make the screenwriters a little bit spooked) or his misinterpreted tryst with a foxy pharmaceutical rep (Jessica Alba, who almost steals the film while the heavyweights are loafing). It's about squeezing the last few dollars from a gullible public like milk from a cat.

We should be skeptical of any movie that starts with a harried doctor/lawyer/decorator racing down a hallway while a secretary recites the day's agenda. Today, nurse Focker's first duty is doody - inducing a bowel movement from an uptight patient. Sales rep Andi Garcia (Alba) gushes about Greg's technique and offers him a job promoting her company's new impotence drug.

When father-in-law Frank Byrnes (De Niro) catches wind of their rendezvous, he initially thinks Greg is having an affair with actor Andy Garcia. Slapstick surveillance ensues.

Meanwhile there's a dead-end subplot about Greg and wife Pam (Teri Polo) trying to get their twins into a high-end preschool run by an obnoxious phony (Laura Dern), a wasted opportunity involving an ornery landscaper (De Niro's "Mean Streets" co-star Harvey Keitel) and a pointless visit from Pam's wealthy, whiny ex-boyfriend (Owen Wilson). It's as if the casting agent invited a team of Hollywood all-stars to a charades party and then forgot to give them a clue.

But if instead of story and characters, your movie wish list includes projectile vomiting and erection gags, this lump of coal has your name on it.

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