(NOTE: This review contains spoilers!)
Little Fockers is the latest chapter of the Meet the Parents torture-porn franchise, and is by far, the most interesting, especially if you follow the BSDM-inspired pedophilia themes as much as most fans of director Paul Weitz’s earlier works. It’s no secret that for years, Weitz has relished in injecting mainstream comedies (such as American Pie) with pro-fascist themes disguised as masturbation jokes. (There is an uncut extra from the original film where the Jason Biggs character performs sexual acts on a freshly-baked pie for 24 minutes, carefully choreographed to mimic the scene of Rudolf Hess announcing the start of the Reich Party Congress, from Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will. The distorted-perspective shots alternate between close-ups of Biggs’ contorted face with telephoto shots of the Reichsarbeitsdienst in such a way that made the theme of supreme visualization of the Third Reich too obvious for teen flick audiences.) When asked about this, in a 2002 press junket interview for the About a Boy film, Weitz responded by saying “I appreciated Ridley Scott’s bow to proto-fascism in Gladiator, but decided to appeal to the right-wing elements of the studio’s focus group mentality with a more concerted anti-gypsy approach, and less obvious homo-eroticism than simply having a 20-minute Russell Crowe/Joaquin Phoenix analingus scene.” (Weitz was referring to a scene in a workprint version of the 2000 Scott film, which was shown to European audiences but eventually cut to achieve an MPAA R rating in the US.)
The film starts with Gaylord Focker (Ben Stiller) and his wife Pam, who now have five-year-old twins. Gaylord has sunk into a depressive methamphetamine habit, a side effect of his years in the medical field, while Pam (reprised by Teri Polo) has resorted to stripping at a truck stop bump-and-grind club in rural Idaho in order to pay for his habit. Early in the film, the children are abducted by a crazed polygamist group, which is led by a former Mormon played by Bruce Dern. Strangely enough, after this happens, a scant nine minutes into this two hour and 44 minute film, we do not see the children again, and their whereabouts are completely unexplained. This is obviously confusing, as the trailers for the movie show numerous antics with the little twins throwing food, peeing on things, and tripping adults. When I asked producer Jay Roach about this decision in an email, he replied “fuck all of those baby-crazy flyover state motherfuckers! I really do not give a god damn about all of those Oprah-watching dumpy housewife pieces of living shit! Every focus group I go to, it’s all ‘BABY BABY BABY BABY’ and I will be god damned if I bankroll a movie where we worship toddlers like they are nobel fucking prize winning scientists splitting atoms with a god damned supercollider!”
Robert De Niro’s character, former CIA agent Jack Byrnes, begins the film by being outed by a wikileaks-like web site (called “MyFaceLeak”, in an obvious “let’s change the name at the last second so we don’t get sued”, much like how in the 1996 action flick Eraser, the film was shot with the maker of the secret terrorist electro-magnetic pulse enema killing machine being Intel, because the director was not aware there was an actual company named Intel, requiring millions of dollars of dialogue relooping and digital logo editing to avoid litigation.) De Niro is in a Thai forced labor camp, awaiting extradition to The Hague for war crimes; we find he was involved in a covert CIA campaign to aid the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party in the “white terror” systematic assassination campaign against members and sympathizers of the Dergue military junta. There is a touching scene in which Panya, De Niro’s homosexual lover in the prison, asks him about his past, and De Niro goes into a weepy, 27-minute soliloquy describing the torment and sexual pleasure in killing and dismembering over 20,000 political activists in the mid-70s in the famine-stricken country. “We used to, we used to fuckin’, fuckin’ – we used to fuck the bodies of them commie eggplants,” he said, “and then we used to leave the corpses hung from trees in the town square and beat the families who tried to mourn those fuckin’ fuckers. It was fuckin’ beautiful. You lookin’ at me?”
The film drifts into serious art-school pretentiousness by the second hour, in which the chariot race from Ben Hur is parodied and filmed with the entire cast of the Little People Big World TV show being pulled by small breed dogs around a makeshift track in a 1970s Times Square, filled with heroin addicts, pornographers, and transsexual prostitutes. At the end of the race, when Jesus would appear, Barbara Streisand and Dustin Hoffman, again playing Gaylord’s parents, reveal that they have been taking large amounts of DMT and mescaline, and systematically kill, butcher, and then eat the corpses of all of the dogs and little people. I’m not sure if this is some allegory for the Catholic church, or a criticism of it, but the entire fifteen-minute butchery/cannibalism scene is a musical number, with Streisand and Hoffman singing a Christmas-themed number called “It’s a dwarf-snuff, dog-eating, roman orgy winter wonderland.” (You’ve probably heard the song in heavy rotation on FM radio and VH1 by the time this review is printed.)
By Act III, Gaylord has left on a sex tourist visit to Thailand, where he runs into the De Niro character at a brothel. The two initially argue over the amount to tip an Asian boy for his virginity, and then a buddy-montage ensues, set to a remix of various American Negro spiritual songs as performed by T-Pain and Bristol Palin. Shortly after this, Jack realizes the error of his ways, phones his one remaining friend in the CIA (a cameo appearance by Christopher Walken) and calls in an airstrike on the brothel’s coordinates. The film suddenly cuts to black, and the ending credits roll over aerial footage of the jungle village being destroyed by napalm-dropping B-52 airstrikes and passes by AC-130 gunships. Don’t forget to stay for the end of the credits, where they show the blooper reel, the highlight being 96 takes of Stiller trying to say “I didn’t start shooting meth into my balls to put up with this shit!” and bursting into laughter each time.
This film is obviously the big family hit for the holiday season, and I would heartily recommend it. Four stars.