Thứ Sáu, 9 tháng 10, 2009

First a Focker had to Meet the Parents. Then the parents had to Meet the Fockers. Now the Fockers and the parents must meet Jessica Alba?

Apparently, it's what the Stiller-De Niro Focker franchise (and its Universal and Tribeca backers) need to attract its supposed target demographic -- hottie-seeking, heterosexual men. (I'm guessing Megan Fox was too busy or too expensive.) And if Alba is the studios' go-to-girl for man-magnet movies, according to Hollywood Reporter blog Risky Biz, the Fockers is one of its studio's go-to franchises for big box office bucks, especially in light of their lackluster summer fare -- including Bruno (at about $60 million domestic not nearly as "nice!" as the $128+ mil Borat brought in). With a slew of sexy sci-fi and rom-com roles under her belt (Fantastic Four, Good Luck Chuck , and Garry Marshall's upcoming L.A. love-or-leave-a-rama Valentine's Day), Alba appears to be just the woman for the job.

Directed by Paul Weitz (About a Boy) and penned by John Hamburg (I Love You, Man), the third Focker installment, Little Fockers, features Alba playing the part of a pharmaceutical rep whose alluring looks, reports Reuters, "wreak havoc" on the movie's male characters. The plot reportedly picks up where the 2004 sequel left off, with Greg and wife Pam (Teri Polo) expecting the pitter-patter of little Focker feet. So while the first film reveled in the comic clash of a mild-mannered male nurse (Greg Focker/Ben Stiller) with his paranoid, ex-CIA future father-in-law (Jack Byrnes/Robert De Niro); and the second that of Focker's conservative in-laws-to-be with his hippie dippy parents (including mom Roz/Barbra Streisand, sex therapist to the elderly), the Alba chapter will revel in what? The hilarious hazards of a soon-to-be groom and father-in-law avoiding or competing for the attention of a pretty young pharmaceutical pusher they run into after a group therapy session, perhaps? Or, in a more sinister spin, might JA unwittingly employ the Focker and Byrnes men in a delusion-inducing drug trial? Would a better title for the Focker frolic be There's Something About That Pharmaceutical Rep?

Or here's a curious question: Is there really such a shortage of fresh, funny scripts in Hollywood? Has Stiller finally run out of ways to reinvent his signature schtick? Is everyone simply lazy -- including audiences that lap up recycled routines and endless sequels? And how many sequels does it take to squeeze all the theater dollars you can out of a series? When is enough, enough? Is Rocky VI the measuring stick? Here's an everlasting film franchise idea: Why not extend screen lifespans even more with movie mergers -- Madea Meets the Fockers (as their new neighbor), High School Musical Transformers (high school students' cell phones transform into colossal metal beings that are too busy texting each other to save any world).

Then again, adding fresh faces to the Focker formula certainly seems to have paid off in Meet the Fockers, which welcomed Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand into its ranks and raked in more millions then Meet the Parents. Maybe this time, Universal moviemakers know what they're doing. Still, will Little Fockers be the Focker finale or will the Stiller-De Niro saga continue? What's next? Fast forward to Focker High, a tale of teen Focker twins competing for a spot on the cheerleading squad with a dance-off choregraphed by Grandpa Byrnes?

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