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Originally published December 21, 2010 at 10:04 AM | Page modified December 21, 2010 at 10:10 AM

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Movie review

'Little Fockers': Stay home — this stellar cast should have

"Little Fockers," the third in a series of movies that wasn't all that funny start with, has enormous star power but very little charm. What were Robert De Niro, Owen Wilson, Laura Dern, Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand thinking when they signed up for this dog?

Seattle Times movie critic

Movie review 1.5 stars

'Little Fockers,' with Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Blythe Danner, Teri Polo, Jessica Alba, Laura Dern, Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand. Directed by Paul Weitz, from a screenplay by John Hamburg and Larry Stuckey. 106 minutes. Rated PG-13 for mature sexual humor throughout, language and some drug content. Several theaters.

Between them, Robert De Niro, Owen Wilson, Laura Dern, Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand have 20 Academy Award nominations (six of them wins) in various categories. And yet none of them could think of anything better to do than appear in "Little Fockers"? Let's pause to consider the ramifications of this. Are they really so hard up for work? Don't any of them enjoy, say, staying home and reading novels or something?

"Meet the Parents," in 2000, was a not-especially-funny comedy in which the hapless Greg — formerly Gaylord — Focker (Ben Stiller) met his future father-in-law, the no-nonsense Jack Byrnes (De Niro), who wasted no time pointing out that Greg wasn't quite what Jack had in mind for his daughter Pam (Teri Polo). Many, many jokes were made from the Focker name, but apparently not enough. "Meet the Fockers" came along in 2004, adding Hoffman and Streisand to the mix as Greg's parents and stretching an already threadbare joke to breaking point.

Now comes "Little Fockers," just in case there's someone out there who still wants to laugh at Greg's name — and, in case there isn't, the movie's stocked with projectile vomiting, jokes about erectile dysfunction and a female character named "Andi Garcia." Laughing yet?

There's no point whatsoever to "Little Fockers," starting with a title that implies that the movie is about Greg and Pam's kids, which it isn't. (They're 5-year-old twins, and they have a birthday, and the little boy has a weak stomach, and that's about it for the kiddies, who can be excused for their presence here on the grounds that they probably weren't old enough to read the script.) No, this is still more of the Greg-and-Jack relationship, as Jack continues to disapprove and Greg continues to try to curry favor and Owen Wilson's character hangs around for utterly senseless reasons ... and really, is this franchise just going to continue until we're all floating around in space stations, wondering why Greg doesn't just tell his father-in-law to shove off? Streisand, at least, seems to be having a good time in her few scenes, as does Hoffman. Glad somebody was having fun.

Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or mmacdonald@seattletimes.com

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