(PG-13) 3 starsEd Johnson-Ott
Look, it's the biggest, most expensive episode of Dharma and Greg EVER! Everyone from the humor-of-discomfort hit Meet the Parents is back as engaged couple Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and Pam Byrnes (Teri Polo) take her very conservative parents Jack (Robert De Niro) and Dina (Blythe Danner) to meet his hippie folks Bernie (Dustin Hoffman) and Roz (Barbara Streisand).
I'll wrap this up quickly, as there really isn't all that much to say about the film. If you will recall, the first movie ended with Greg being grudgingly accepted into the Byrnes' family circle of trust, maintained by the ever-watchful, always anal Jack. The filmmakers deserve credit for mixing things up a bit in the sequel rather than merely remaking the first film.
This time Jack suffers as much as Greg, and De Niro is very good at suffering amusingly. His efforts at remaking the world in an image he deems suitable now extends to his other daughter's infant child, which the Byrnes bring along on the trip. Jack has taught the pre-verbal baby to communicate through sign language and demands that the tot be spoken to like an adult. He also feeds the baby through a mold of his daughter's own mammary gland that he straps onto his chest.
Silly stuff, but his family suffers through it in silence. Don't expect Roz and Bernie Focker to do the same. Streisand and Hoffman have a field day with their roles, and her job as a sex therapist gets milked for all its worth.
As do their last names, of course. Meet the Fockers is sitcom funny, but at the screening I attended, there were considerably fewer big laughs than in the original. For a change, I was in full agreement with the audience.