If the religion of Ben Stiller's character, Gaylord "Greg" Focker (pronounced Faw-ker), was hinted at in the movie, "Meet the Parents," there's no escaping it in its sequel, "Meet the Fockers," in theaters this week.
The first time around, audiences rooted for Greg, as he tried to find common ground with his WASPY soon-to-be in-laws, Dina and Jack Byrnes, played by Blythe Danner and Robert DeNiro. Now all that's left is for the in-laws to meet each other.
This time, we're on Focker turf, at the tiki-style abode of Greg's parents, Roz (Barbra Streisand) and Bernie (Dustin Hoffman), in Coconut Grove, Fla.
The loud, affectionate, occasionally crude, left-wing bohemian Fockers are essentially the polar opposites of the Byrneses. And so the fun begins, as Greg tries to convince his future father-in-law that his family won't be a "chink in the chain" of his lineage.
"If you really boil it down, it's sort of the difference between cats and dogs," producer Jane Rosenthal said, "The Byrneses have Jinx the cat, who's back, and the Fockers have Moses, their dog. So it's cat people vs. dog people, really."
Moses the dog is just one of many Jewish nods in the film. There are Yiddishisms like bubbeleh, meshuggeneh and Rozaleh.
There is Bernie's greeting to his son when he first arrives: "You look like a young, Jewish Marlon Brando."
There is Roz's classic greeting as she hugs Greg: "Honey, you feel thin. Have you been eating?"
And then there's the incident with the foreskin....
Of course, in the tradition of "Meet the Parents," chaos ensues when these two families get together.
Even if the plot does feel forced at times, for those who subscribe to the belief that other people's pain is funny, "Fockers" has a good chance of amusing.
"Meet the Fockers" opens Dec. 22.
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