Meet the Fockers

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Meet the Fockers
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJay Roach
Screenplay byJim Herzfeld
John Hamburg
Story byJim Herzfeld
Marc Hyman
Based onCharacters
by Greg Glienna
Mary Ruth Clarke
Produced byJane Rosenthal
Robert De Niro
Jay Roach
StarringRobert De Niro
Ben Stiller
Dustin Hoffman
Barbra Streisand
Blythe Danner
Teri Polo
CinematographyJohn Schwartzman
Edited byJon Poll
Lee Haxall
Music byRandy Newman
Production
companies
Distributed byUniversal Pictures (North America)
DreamWorks Pictures (International; through United International Pictures)
Release date
  • December 22, 2004 (2004-12-22)
Running time
115 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$80 million
Box office$522.7 million[1]

Meet the Fockers is a 2004 American romantic comedy film directed by Jay Roach, and the sequel to the 2000 film, Meet the Parents. The film stars Robert De Niro (also one of the film's producers), Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Blythe Danner and Teri Polo. Despite mixed reviews, the film was a box-office hit, grossing $522 million worldwide. The sequel, Little Fockers, followed in 2010.

Plot[edit]

With their wedding date six months away, Gaylord "Greg" Focker and his fiancée Pam Byrnes decide to introduce their parents to each other. They fly to Oyster Bay, New York, to pick up Pam's father, retired CIA operative Jack Byrnes, her mother Dina, and her one-year-old nephew, Jack "Little Jack" Banks (the son of Bob and Debbie Banks). Jack drives the family in his new RV to Miami, Florida, to meet Greg's parents.

They are greeted by Greg's eccentric, fun-loving and free-spirited parents, Bernie Focker, a lawyer-turned-stay-at-home-dad, and Roz, a sex therapist for elderly couples. While Dina bonds with the Fockers, cracks form between Jack and the Fockers due to their contrasting personalities and backgrounds. A chase between the Fockers' dog, Moses, and the Byrneses' cat, Jinx, culminates with Jinx flushing Moses down the RV's toilet. Bernie destroys it to save Moses. Later, Bernie accidentally injures Jack's back during a game of touch football.

Pam informs Greg that she is pregnant, and the two decide to keep it a secret until they are married. Bernie tells the guests that Greg lost his virginity to the Fockers' former housekeeper, Isabel Villalobos, 15 years earlier. Isabel's 15-year-old son Jorge, who has never met his father and bears a striking resemblance to Greg, catches the attention of Jack after he repairs the toilet in the RV. Roz, Bernie and Dina learn that Pam is pregnant, but promise not to tell Jack.

Greg is left alone to babysit Little Jack, who Jack has been raising via the Ferber method. Despite Jack's strict instructions to leave Little Jack to self-soothe, Greg is unable to stand listening to Little Jack's cries, and attempts to cheer him up by hugging him and acting humorously, but inadvertently teaches him the word "asshole". Greg answers a brief phone call from Roz, and Little Jack is let out of the playpen by Jinx. He turns on Scarface on the TV and glues his hands to a bottle of rum, while saying "asshole" repeatedly, leading to an argument between Jack and the Fockers over each other's parenting methods.

Jack begins spying on Greg, sends Greg and Jorge's hair samples for a DNA test, and invites Jorge to Greg and Pam's engagement party in hopes of getting Greg to admit he is Jorge's father. When Greg denies having known about Jorge, Jack does not believe him and drugs him with a shot of truth serum. While giving a toast, Greg uncontrollably blurts out that Pam is pregnant and that Jorge is his son before losing consciousness.

The next morning, Pam questions Greg about Jorge, and Greg promises that he knew nothing about him before the previous evening. Pam believes him and is willing to work things out with him. Jack has reached his breaking point, and demands that Pam and Dina leave with him. Dina refuses and reveals that Jack drugged Greg. Everyone turns against Jack and informs him that they were all aware of Pam's pregnancy, but didn't tell him due to his inability to trust people. Shocked and hurt, Jack leaves with his grandson.

Bernie and Greg pursue Jack, but are tasered and arrested by Officer Vern LeFlore for speeding and not remaining in Bernie's car when pulled over. Meanwhile, Jack receives the results of the DNA test; Jorge's father is really a baseball player who also resembles Greg. Jack turns back toward the house. When Jack sees Bernie and Greg being arrested, he attempts to defend them, but LeFlore tasers and arrests him as well. Greg, Jack and Bernie are released from jail by Judge Ira, a client of Roz's. Before they leave, Greg asks Jack and Bernie to stop their feud. Jack admits he made a mistake regarding Jorge and explains his career in the CIA to Bernie before apologizing for his actions.

Greg and Pam are married that weekend by Pam's former fiancé Kevin, now an ordained interfaith minister. Jack reviews hidden camera footage to find each of the Fockers jeopardizing the Ferber method.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Twins Spencer and Bradley Pickren were cast as Little Jack. The twins' mother was a pediatric nurse who had taught them sign language from birth, although they had to learn a few additional signs specifically for the movie.[2] As was common in the film industry, the casting of twins in a child role allowed the producers to work within the limitations on how many hours children are allowed to work, and swap in a fresh sibling if one of them unexpectedly became tired or upset.[2] Although the Pickren twins performed exceptionally well on-set most of the time, they were never at ease with actor Ben Stiller after doing the head-butting sequence. Although the head-butt itself was a digitized effect, Stiller had to pretend to be hit by grabbing his face, cursing loudly and smearing fake blood under his nose, all of which was upsetting to the Pickrens.[3]

As part of building the character Roz Focker, the crew consulted sex experts Jennifer and Laura Berman. The Bermans advised them of the difficulty people in their profession face with not exposing their children to too much sexual knowledge too soon, an idea that was worked into the film.[2]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Rotten Tomatoes reports that 39% of 166 sampled critics give Meet the Fockers positive reviews, with an average rating of 5.20/10. The site's consensus is: "Talented cast is wasted as the movie is content with recycling jokes from its predecessor, Meet the Parents."[4] At Metacritic, which assigns a weighted average score out of 100, with reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 41, based on 34 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average rating of "B+" on a scale of A+ to F.[6]

Box office[edit]

The film was a commercial success, and is currently the second highest-grossing film starring Robert De Niro, behind Joker.[7] The film grossed $46,120,980 in its opening weekend in North America (5,000 screens at 3,518 theaters, averaging $13,110 per theater, or $9,224 per screen). Overall, it grossed $70.5 million during its first five days of release.[8][9] The film went on to break The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King's records for both the highest Christmas Day gross and the biggest Tuesday gross, making a total of $19.1 million and $12.6 million, respectively.[10] The film would hold the Tuesday record until 2006, when The Omen surpassed it.[11] Meet the Fockers continued to hold the Christmas Day record until it was beaten by both Avatar and Sherlock Holmes in 2009.[12] It made $12.1 million on New Year's Eve and $18.3 million on New Year's Day, surpassing the previous records held by both Cast Away and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King simultaneously.[10] By the end of the film's 149 days of release, it had grossed a total of $279,261,160 in North America, and $243,396,776 in other territories, for a total worldwide gross of $522,657,936, with an estimated 44 million tickets sold in the U.S. The film's budget was $80 million.[13]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 2005: Casting Society Of America, USA: Nominated for Best Feature Film Casting: Comedy.
  • 2005: Teen Choice Awards: Nominated for Choice Movie: Blush, Choice Movie Actor: Comedy, Choice Movie Actor: Comedy, Choice Movie: Liar.
  • 2005: MTV Movie Awards Won: Best Comedic Performance.
  • 2005: ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards: Won Top Box Office Films.
  • 2005: MTV Movie Awards in Mexico: Nominated for Best International Movie.

Sequel[edit]

A sequel to the film, titled Little Fockers, was released December 22, 2010.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Meet the Fockers (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved April 6, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c Roach, Jay; Poll, Jon (2005). Meet the Fockers - Audio Commentary (DVD). Universal Studios. ISBN 1-4170-1825-9.
  3. ^ Meet the Fockers - "The Adventures of a Baby Wrangler" (DVD). Universal Studios. 2005. ISBN 1-4170-1825-9.
  4. ^ "Meet The Fockers (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved January 19, 2024.
  5. ^ "Meet the Fockers reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 3, 2010.
  6. ^ "Home". Cinemascore. Retrieved 2021-09-05.
  7. ^ "Robert De Niro Movies Box Office Results". www.boxofficemojo.com. IMDb. Retrieved 3 April 2015.
  8. ^ Gentile, Gary (December 31, 2004). "'Fockers' sets record for holiday". The Associated Press. Livingston County Daily Press & Argus. p. 19. Archived from the original on May 14, 2023. Retrieved May 14, 2023 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  9. ^ "Meet the Fockers (2004) - Weekend Box Office Results - Box Office Mojo". Box Office Mojo.
  10. ^ a b Gray, Brandon (January 3, 2005). "'Fockers' Meets Christmas Records". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on May 14, 2023. Retrieved May 14, 2023.
  11. ^ Gray, Brandon (June 7, 2006). "'Omen' Opens to Tuesday Record". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on May 14, 2023. Retrieved May 14, 2023.
  12. ^ "Friday: "Holmes" and "Avatar" Break Christmas Day Record".
  13. ^ "Meet the Fockers (2004)". Box Office Mojo. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved October 3, 2010.

External links[edit]