“Little Fockers” continues portraying family lunacy in all its forms, this time with children (little Fockers) added to the mix. When Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) appoints Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) the “Godfocker,” things take a drastic turn for the worse. Jack’s heart condition is acting up. Greg is building a new house for his family, when Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba) comes into his world, the hot woman that makes any man think twice. And Kevin Rawley (Owen Wilson) can’t hide his feelings for Pam (Teri Polo) any longer. With Jack breathing down Greg’s neck (as always), hilarity is bound to ensue. And it does.

“Little Fockers” continues with its one-liners not fit for youngins, its compromising situations, and of course the oh-so-crazy family dynamic. “Little Fockers” is as much a depiction of how not to run a family, as it is of a family in dire need of intervention. Of salvation. That’s what makes the film a little watchable. Amongst all the craziness, there’s time for some deeper meaning. Greg really wants to prove his worth to Jack. Jack really wants his daughter to be happy. The Fockers (Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand) just want their family to be close-knit like when Greg was still at home…and so on. Each character carries a motivation that is clear and very primal. “Little Fockers” isn’t a complete slugfest, but gravitates toward that many a time.

“Little Fockers” is just, as Jack says at one point in the film when referencing one of the little tikes, “a double dose of Focker.” That’s what this is all about. More Fockers. More fun. More lunacy. Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro carry the film, as the central focus always seems to be on their power struggle. There’s a particularly funny moment when Jack makes a big mistake with Ben’s medicines and…you get the point. If one can get over the fact that the film is one scene of unreal after another, then the film may have some merit. If not, look elsewhere for laughter-induced escapism. There’s not much to be missed.

“Little Fockers” is Rated PG-13 and is approximately 98 minutes long.

Verdict: 2.5 Stars (out of 4)

Writer’s Take-Away

  • Make each character have as clear a motivation as possible…that’s code for a clear story purpose. Every character in “Little Fockers” has a pretty clear purpose. Greg wants to prove that he’s worthy. Andi’s looking for a rebound and for someone to actually love her instead of her body. Kevin wants Pam so bad, but deep down that’s not really what the problem is. Jack wants his daughter to be happy, and his former lifestyle as a secret agent keeps mixing with that. The Fockers want to live their own lives, etc. Each character is set up early, in such a way where their motivation is clear. When an audience senses what a character wants they seemingly can put more effort into following that journey. If an audience can identify with a character’s purpose and emotion, then they can immerse themselves in the writer’s world. That’s something to try with your characters. Give them a clear purpose. It seems like a really simple concept, but is often difficult to accomplish. Think clear. Primal. Purpose.