Third time out for the Meet the Parents franchise, and it's all but impossible to suppress a groan. That great scene from the first film where Ben Stiller has to undergo a polygraph test from his insanely suspicious father-in-law (Robert De Niro) seems but a distant memory.
Now, Stiller and his wife (Teri Polo) have five-year-old twins, and De Niro, troubled by a heart condition, has decided that his disappointing son-in-law must prepare to be "The Godfocker" – cue much Brando-esque gurning and echoes of the Nino Rota Godfather theme. Jessica Alba is drafted in as rent-a-temptress, while Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand reprise their deeply unfunny schtick as the Stiller parents.
Whatever small shiver of double entendre still hung around the name "Focker" is here blown out the water by a pretty grotesque scene involving De Niro's erectile dysfunction. Does this really qualify as family entertainment? I laughed twice, during the first five minutes of Owen Wilson's appearance as the superrich and pretentious hippie Kevin, whose love of Stiller's wife now extends to his having a tattoo of her face on his back. But even his charm runs dry long before the end.
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