There's nothing like starting out an alleged comedy romp with a disgusting joke about a man's posterior, vomit and sex talk.

Yes, "Little Fockers" stoops to new lows to make its audience laugh. But that doesn't mean you have to see this less-than-average movie that happens to have a stellar cast that is attracting thousands to see this smarmy sequel.

The 2000 comedy "Meet the Parents," which introduced us to Ben Stiller as Greg/Gaylord Focker, Teri Polo as his girlfriend Pam and Robert De Niro as Jack Byrnes, Greg's skeptical soon-to-be-father-in-law, certainly had its moments. "Little Fockers" does, too, but there are far fewer. This screenplay wants to force the audience into laughter with gross-out, tasteless humor, not cleverly written skits.

Greg and Pam, who got married in the 2004 sequel "Meet the Fockers," now have two kids. Also in their lives is Kevin (Owen Wilson), Pam's ex, who seems to be on hand everywhere, much to the dismay of Greg and the joy of Jack, who wants Kevin for a son-in-law.

The idea of the movie, which is a flimsy excuse to connect several "funny" scenes, is that both sides of the family are getting together for the twins' birthday. (The children obviously are of different ages but are supposed to be the same age. This is an example of the film's laugh-getting quotient).

Of course that means bringing in Greg's parents (Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman). There's a star here for everyone. Even Harvey Keitel appears briefly, for heaven's sake. And Jessica Alba stars as a pharmaceutical rep who becomes enamored with Greg.

If tacky equaled funny, this movie would contend for the equivalent of a comedy Oscar. To start out a movie with someone having a very private exam, someone barfing and other tawdriness, all within the first 10 minutes, is a low-brow achievement of some sort.

The actors do what they can to make the scenes laughable, and sometimes they succeed. But they can't create laughs out of someone cutting a finger while preparing a turkey, having a little kid see all the blood and then have nightmares. And never mind what the little boy sees when Greg gives his father-in-law an injection because of the after-effects of a Viagra-like drug.

It's lewd, not hilarious. Treat yourself to something else that's really entertaining to ring in the new year.

 

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