July 10, 2005

Something is missing from Meet the Fockers

Meet the FockersI just watched Meet the Fockers and I think I've figured out at least one of the problems with the Meet the Parents movies.

First of all, it has to be said that both movies begin with a great comic premise. In fact, the premise alone is enough to draw you into seeing the movies - or at least, it should. Secondly, it's important to say that both movies (Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers) are good, comic movies. They are definitely worth seeing.

But for me, in both cases, they fall short. And I've been scratching my head trying to figure out why.

While I don't think it's the only reason, one of the problems for me is the Ben Stiller character. For the most part, the movies use him as a prop rather than as a character. This is highlighted in Meet the Fockers in the jail scene where we finally see his character, Greg Focker, stop being a prop - someone to whom bad things happen - and step up to assert himself.

It's not simply that he's asserting himself in the scene, it's that we finally see something more than a schmoe to whom bad things happen.

I'm not saying he should be Hamlet. But until this scene occurs, while the movie's various comic scenes are amusing, there's not much to make it a compelling story.

I dunno. While I like both movies, both miss the mark for me because I'm never fully engaged. And I think the reason is because they make Stiller's Greg the focal point of the movie without making him particularly interesting. And I think this essentially a script problem.

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