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    Movie Review: Little Fockers, Small Changes to Old Formula

    Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Little Fockers Glen Wilson/Universal Studios

    Review in a Hurry: Gaylord "Greg" Focker has survived meeting his girlfriend's parents, his parents meeting HER parents, and now, being a parent in front of the parents. If this sounds repetitive...well, you have a pretty good idea of what it's like to see this re-rematch between Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro.

    The Bigger Picture: Meet the Parents made beaucoup bucks by pitting De Niro's trademark frown-sneer against Stiller's wide-eyed stammer. While many enjoyed Greg's mockery at the hands of papa Jack, Meet the Fockers improved on the formula as Jack's outlandish suspicions and sabotage finally met its match in the face of Greg's freewheeling hippie parents, Bernie and Roz (Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand).

    Where else to go in number 3? After all, 2 ended happily, so forcing another bout between papa and son-in-law is a too-easy retread. Yet that's exactly where the filmmakers go, this time with grandkids thrown into the mix. Little Henry and Samantha round out Greg and wife Pam (Teri Polo)'s happy life. But it's not enough for Jack, who, embittered by his other daughter's divorce, wants to make sure that last-son-in-law-standing Greg is equipped to lead the family. In lieu of a background check, he spies, spooks and meddles. Add erectile dysfunction drugs, a heart attack or two and a drunk Jessica Alba, and all sorts of comic mayhem busts loose.

    While the chaos is funny, what's the point? After all, Greg will surely be found innocent of all charges (adultery, drugs and whatever else Jack's ex-CIA mind can dream up), and Pam and family will throw their hands up in frustration. And so will you.

    The personalities are exuberant, the situations humorous, the slapstick worth a chuckle or two. But while the jokes may be fresh, the plot is 100 percent stale.

    The 180—A Second Opinion: At the heart of the story are young parents Greg and Pam making their busy middle-class life work. There are some real moments where they bicker, compromise and overall, love each other, and without that key connection between these two, the movie would spin off the rails into total absurdity.

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