REVIEW: Little Fockers

14 08 2011

I don’t have much to say in regards to “Little Fockers.”  It’s a tacked-on sequel that has all the same characters as its two predecessors but little of its humor.  The movie will inevitably be dwarfed in comparison to the two titans of the series, but you get a few more laughs out of the Byrne-Focker “circle of trust” and some people at Universal made a lot of money.  It’s a bittersweet win-win, right?

In case you hadn’t noticed that Robert DeNiro has fallen far and sold out since his legendary pairing with director Martin Scorsese, “Little Fockers” gives the two-time Oscar winner the chance do a tongue in cheek mockery of himself.  35 years ago, he was the younger version of the Godfather.  Now, he’s searching for – the worst pun of the series – the Godfocker!  At least DeNiro can let it roll off his back and joke about it as the series that once could have anyone rollicking in laughter – even on TBS reruns – resorts to straight-to-DVD territory.

Unlike “Meet the Parents” (and “Meet the Fockers” to a lesser extent), which tackled relevant and relatable social topics in a funny but truthful way, “Little Fockers” goes for potty humor and adolescent immaturity to hide the changing landscape of the series.  With a new director, a new writer, and a total lack of effort, these aren’t the same Fockers.  But as Hollywood has yet to learn, you can’t hide a lack of enthusiasm from all corners on a movie set.  Even when you throw in a beauty like Jessica Alba or enhance the role of funnyman Owen Wilson, people notice when they aren’t laughing in a comedy movie.

So if you’re willing to dumb yourself down a little or happen to be in the mood for guilty, stupid laughs, “Little Fockers” may lightly graze your funnybone.  But the heyday of this series is long in the past, as are the glory days of Robert DeNiro.  Wait, I think I see his self-respect in the rearview mirror as well!  C+ / 

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Random Factoid #512

22 12 2010

Prepare yourself for “Little Fockers.”

Currently sitting at an impressive 9% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes (50% better than better than “The Last Airbender,” if you’re looking for a comparison), the movie still looks to drain the most money out of the pockets of holiday moviegoers.  This isn’t going to drive them away, or me away, for that matter.  I accept the fact that it could be horrific with open arms in the hopes of sharing a fun, laughter-filled evening with an auditorium full of total strangers.

But that 9% doesn’t exactly reassure me.  Does it ultimately affect me?  No, but it makes an impact, especially for movies that I’m on the fence about seeing.  Case in point: “Burlesque,” which made a really poor critical showing.  I skipped it as a result.

So, what about you? Is there a point that a movie becomes too poorly-reviewed to see?  Are their certain movies you consider to be “critic-proof?”





What To Look Forward To in … December 2010

15 11 2010

Hard to believe we are rapidly approaching the last month of 2010!  Enjoy the movies now, because soon Hollywood will be offering us its scraps.  We have an interesting December slate peppered with Oscar contenders and blockbusters, so it makes for an interesting mix.  Let’s get started at our look!

December 3

I’ve already seen “Black Swan” (mwahaha), and you need to see it.  Not for the faint at heart, I must warn.

FINALLY opening after being shuffled from preview post to preview post is “I Love You Phillip Morris,” the racy comedy starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor as lovers.  It’s changed release dates so many times, in fact, that I’m not going to write anything about it just in case I jinx it.  Also opening is “The Warrior’s Way,” which looks to potentially play “Norbit” for Geoffrey Rush’s Oscar chances.  And “All Good Things” looks like a jumbled mess that might be worth checking out on video if for no other reason than to see Kristen Wiig’s first major dramatic turn.  If you really need a Christmas movie, check out no-name distributor Freestyle’s release of “The Nutcracker” in 3D with Dakota Fanning’s sister and Nathan Lane!

Also in limited release is a documentary on Benazir Bhutto, the assassinated former Prime Minister of Pakistan, called “Bhutto.”  I think she would be a fascinating subject, and I sure hope it comes to Houston.

December 10

“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” looks to undo the disastrous effects of Disneyfication on C.S. Lewis’ classic series.  After “Prince Caspian,” the series needs a strong recovery.  Here’s to hoping the venture with Fox can do it.

As for “The Tourist,” I like anything with Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp.  This could be a totally formulaic thriller, but it’s Christmas and I have time to see whatever.

For all those interested in having Julia Taymor’s bad trips mess with their mind, “The Tempest” opens in limited release this Friday.  The weekend also brings us “The Company Men” with Ben Affleck, which tackles the issue of unemployment in America.  Unfortunately, the zeitgeist movie market has pretty much been cornered with “The Social Network,” so it’s going to take a backseat.  “Hemingway’s Garden of Eden” also heads your way in limited release, yet even with the big name expatriate author out in front, this still doesn’t excite me in the slightest.

Oh, and opening limited this weekend and wide December 17 is a little movie called “The Fighter.”  It just stars a few no-names like Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale.  It’s kind of got some minor buzz, so it could be worth checking out.  (Note the sarcasm.)

December 17

How Do You Know” is my top mainstream pick for December.  The combination of the light dramedy of James L. Brooks with stars like Reese Witherspoon, Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson is just endlessly appealing to me.

I feel like the jury is still out on what will become of “Tron: Legacy.”  It’s sure going to be a visual effects phenomenon worth my IMAX money, but is it going to be any good?  Quality doesn’t seem to shine through the numerous trailers.  Maybe it’s some ’80s child thing I don’t get.

I’ve also seen “Rabbit Hole,” and it is more than worth your time and money in the busy Oscar bait season.  Nicole Kidman is astounding.  Also in the indie spectrum, Kevin Spacey stars in the late George Hickenlooper’s “Casino Jack,” a story of big influence on Capitol Hill.  Expect the two-time Oscar winner to hit out of the park as usual.

In case your family was looking to fill the void that “Alvin and the Chipmunks” left in the holiday season, Warner Bros. has quite a treat in store for you with “Yogi Bear!”

December 22

As for big name, sure-fire Oscar bait, it doesn’t get much better than the Coen Brothers’ “True Grit.”  It’s the perfect holiday movie that is totally not for the holiday season.

For more shoddy kids’ entertainment, you could also check out “Gulliver’s Travels” if you think that a non-animated Jack Black still has the capability to be funny.  I don’t think he does, to be honest.  As for “Little Fockers,” I don’t want to ruin whatever jokes the movie has up its sleeve by watching the trailer.  Who knows, there could be few to be had.

In limited release, moody hipster Sofia Coppola has a new movie, “Somewhere,” to totally disrupt the mood of your holiday season.  There’s also Gwenyth Paltrow in “Crazy Heart” — I mean, “Country Strong.”  More on that when it opens wide in January.

I’ve been hearing good things all year about “The Illusionist,” an animated movie about a magician, NOT the Edward Norton starrer from 2006.  It obviously won’t be making Houston in 2010, but I hope I get to catch it some time before it hits Netflix.

December 29/31

The year closes with three awards-type movies: the depressing “Biutiful,” the Mike Leigh unfunny comedy “Another Year,” and the intense NC-17 “Blue Valentine.”  I’ll see all three, but the only one I’ll be rushing the box office for is the latter, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.

So, what are YOU looking forward to in December?  I’m tightening up the poll this month to save some space by eliminating some of the less popular titles that never get votes.