Have you ever laughed at a joke, thought about it again and get angry at yourself for laughing at something so cheap, demeaning or derogatory? If not, go check out Hall Pass. When you’re not cringing at the lack of originality and wasted talent, you’re giggling at cut-rate gags that have no chance of earning a laugh the second time around. The fact that you could only get a viewer to laugh by having a character sneeze and poop at the same time is nothing to brag about.
Rick and Fred (Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis) are happily married. Well, kind of. They love their wives, but just can’t help themselves when it comes to looking at or talking crudely about other women. Eventually the sneak peaks and dirty talk becomes too much for their wives, Maggie and Grace (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) respectively, and they decide to issue their men “hall passes.” For one week, Rick and Fred are marriage free. They can do (pun intended) whatever they’d like and it won’t matter.
Turns out, touching isn’t as easy as looking and even with their coveted hall passes, the boys have some trouble sealing the deal – or even initiating it for that matter. Meanwhile, Maggie and Grace are busy spending a relaxing weekend out in Cape Cod. Little do the guys know, their ladies aren’t just indulging in some girl time, but a college baseball team. The team coach warms up to Maggie, and Grace gets her hall pass on cougar-style with a young player.
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Director Paul Weitz has a ton of pressure on him with his latest film, Little Fockers. Not only does he have to manage a massive top-notch cast, but he’s also the guy who has to take the reins from Jay Roach, the man who helmed the first two films that grossed over $330 million and $516.6 million worldwide, apiece. But Weitz is the guy responsible for critically acclaimed films like About a Boy and In Good Company and he certainly has experience managing an ensemble cast and dealing with some pretty raunchy material thanks to his very first feature, American Pie. Little Fockers was right up his alley.
This time around the action takes place in Greg and Pam’s (Ben Stiller and Teri Polo) hometown, Chicago. They’re about to throw a big birthday party for their twins and the whole family is coming for the occasion. Well, everyone except Greg’s dad, Bernie (Dustin Hoffman), because he’s busy studying the Flamenco in Barcelona. As much as the kids want their grandfather to be there, one less person might not be a bad thing because Greg is already trying to deal with the usual pressure from Pam’s father, Jack (Robert De Niro), her ex, Kevin (Owen Wilson), trying to get the kids into the esteemed Early Human School and attempting to promote the erectile dysfunction medication for the beautiful drug rep Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba) without Pam questioning his motives.
There’s a lot going on in this film and there was a lot going on on the set as well. While Weitz was thrilled to be working with John Hamburg on the script, a significant amount of material came naturally, through improvisation. Unfortunately, with so much on-set inventing came many more cuts in the editing room. Check out what Weitz had to say about guiding his cast while still giving them their freedom, what didn’t make it into the film, but will be on the DVD and much more.
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Owen Wilson is a busy guy, particularly this month. Not only was he busy promoting How Do You Know, but this weekend’s release Little Fockers, too. Right after the Little Fockers press conference, Wilson bolted to promote How Do You Know and then came back to talk Fockers. All it took was a little Sports Center, a bowl of oatmeal and some fruit and Wilson was ready to go.
If you think you know his character Kevin, think again. Wilson did have some screen time in Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers, but here, his role is exponentially larger. After a failed marriage proposal, Kevin decides to travel to Chicago where Greg and Pam (Ben Stiller and Teri Polo) are throwing a birthday party for their twins. Sure enough, Kevin gets a little too close for comfort, making Greg increasingly concerned that Pam’s ex-flame is going to move in on his territory.
As eager as I was to ask Wilson everything and anything Little Fockers, so was he to get my take on the film and on his character in particular. Regardless, there was still tons of time to discuss everything from Wilson’s mini make-out session with Barbara Streisand, his bright blue unitard, his hopes for the future and more.
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Where do you go with the third film of a franchise? According to Little Fockers, really nowhere, but what did you expect from a series that began with Meet the Parents and then dove straight into a rough patch with Meet the Fockers? Going up from there would have taken a wildly talented screenwriter, which apparently is something this production didn’t have. All director Paul Weitz could really do is aim to keep the moviegoers coming without letting the quality fall any lower and Little Fockers certainly reflects that.
The Fockers are back – plus two. After their wedding on Focker Island, Greg and Pam (Ben Stiller and Teri Polo) returned to Chicago and had twins, Henry and Samantha (Colin Baiocchi and Daisy Tahan). With their birthday fast approaching, Greg and Pam are busy arranging a big bash with the whole family and, of course, that means Pam’s father, Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro), will have his eye on Greg the entire time. Sure enough, Jack puts the pressure on Greg right when he arrives telling Greg of his plan to turn him into his successor as the head of the Byrnes clan and dubs him “The Godfocker.”
Not only does Greg feel the pressure to live up to his new title, but he’s also got to deal with an old friend – Kevin (Owen Wilson). When Kevin’s proposal plans don’t go as expected, he comes to Chicago for the party. As noble as his intentions may be, everything Kevin does, as usual, brings him one step closer to Pam and makes Greg increasingly jealous. However, Pam has someone to keep an eye on herself, Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba). Andi is an unusually gorgeous drug rep who recruits Greg to represent her erectile dysfunction medication, Sustengo.
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It’s time for you to meet the little Fockers, Colin Baiocchi and Daisy Tahan. The kids are the newest addition to the Meet the Parents franchise and are the focus of the third film, appropriately titled Little Fockers. Recently you might have caught Baiocchi as Kevin in Couples Retreat, the kid who took the liberty of using a model toilet in a retail store and Tahan alongside Uma Thurman in Motherhood.
Here they’re Henry and Samantha, Greg and Pam’s twins. As grandpa Jack says, Henry is the one who got a “double dose” of Focker. While Samantha is busy snooping around the house spying and maintaining a vow of silence with her father, Henry is getting into all sorts of trouble, a tendency that doesn’t work in his favor when his parents try to get him into the prestigious Early Human School. However, getting through the vomit, broken bones and some very disturbing images is no problem because at the end of the road is their massive birthday party packed with a ball pit, bouncy castle, blowup obstacles courses and much more.
Clearly snagging a role in Little Fockers is every kid’s dream and not just because it means they’ll be sharing the screen with some of the greats like Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman and Ben Stiller. Tahan and Baiocchi particularly like the party rides, Teri Polo’s incredible Elmo impression and their toy-packed bedroom. Check out their take on working on Little Fockers below.
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Over the past few years, I’ve been to a number of press conferences, but this one was a different breed. In fact, this wasn’t much of a press conference at all, rather a Dustin Hoffman and Owen Wilson comedy show and even though this event was supposed to be about their upcoming film, Little Fockers, I had absolutely no problem with this duo going off track.
Just to get a little Focker information out there, both Wilson and Hoffman are reprising their roles for round three. Hoffman is back as Greg’s father, Bernie, but sadly, he’s missing his grandchildren’s birthday party because he’s abroad studying the Flamenco. On the other hand, not only is Pam’s ex, Kevin (Wilson), back in the picture, he’s coming to Chicago for the festivities.
From the moment Hoffman and Wilson walked into the room, we knew what we were in for. Not only did the pair enjoy bantering with each other, but with the press, too. Hoffman was pretty busy passing around French fries, talking about the colored foam tips of the microphones and making napkin boobs most of the time, but the guys did squeeze in a quick discussion about certain film-related elements like the removal of certain improvised scenes and their hopes for the fourth installment. You can check it all out in the interview below, but, before you continue, one word of advice, insert laughs in between just about every response. Enjoy.
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