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All Star Cast Makes <i>Meet The Fockers</i> a Hit with US Audiences

  • Penelope Poulou

Meeting prospective in-laws can be nerve-wracking. But, on the big screen, the story of two totally incompatible families meeting before their kids' upcoming wedding, is cause for lots of laughter. VOA's Penelope Poulou says the new comedy Meet the Fockers is a veritable blockbuster.

This is the moment Greg Focker has been dreading. Two years after his engagement to Pam Byrnes his ultra-liberal and rather flaky family finally meets his fiancee's conservative and uptight parents. The initial greeting between the two fathers is not auspicious.

Meet the Fockers is Jay Roach's sequel to Meet the Parents in 2000. In the first installment, Greg Focker, a male murse, meets his fiancee's parents... a traumatic experience, to say the least. Pam's father, Jack, is a retired CIA agent who dislikes Greg from the very start. He puts the young man to the test - literally! Greg has to take a lie detector test - to prove his undying loyalty for Jack's daughter.

So, in Meet the Fockers, the stage is set for disaster. The Byrnes spend the weekend at the 'artsy' Focker household in Florida. Greg's father, Bernie, is a die-hard liberal who has no idea that Jack Byrnes is an ex-CIA operative who despises his future son-in-law.

Romeo and Juliet's fueding families pale by comparison to the tension between the Byrnes and the Fockers.

The key to what makes Meet the Fockers so funny is not just the story line. The cast is superb. Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro return in their roles as Greg Focker and Jack Byrnes, respectively. They continue to play off one another as successfully as in Meet the Parents. They are joined this time around by Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand, who play the emotionally and sexually exuberant Bernie and Rosie Focker!

Ben Stiller says the close and long friendship between Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand brought a family atmosphere on the set and on screen.

"He really made her laugh," says Stiller. " She hasn't done a movie for a while so it was really exciting to see her getting her groove back on."

And Barbra Streisand was enthusiastic about the opportunity to work with Hoffman.

"It's really fun working with Dustin. He and I go back a long way," she says. "Because we went to the same acting school and he was dating my roommate at the time. And he was the janitor, to pay for his lessons, he cleaned up. And I was babysitting for my teacher in exchange for classes. I remember Dustin was one of the first of the group to get a job and we were, 'Ah! Dustin got a job!' "

Meet the Fockers is a heart-warming family comedy. It will not only make you laugh, it may also remind you of the traumatic days when you were faced with meeting the parents.

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