Meet The Fockers R2 DVD Review
Meet The Fockers is presented with an unquestionably solid 1.85:1 aspect ratio anamorphically enhanced widescreen transfer. The detail is good and the clarity is maintained throughout. There is little sign of softness and barely noticeable edge enhancement, none of which impinges on your viewing pleasure. The colour palette is broad - it has to be in order to suitably depict Hoffman's shirts - and always well represented, with no bleeding and deep, solid blacks. There is only a little sign of grain - ironically not in the darker scenes but in the sky shots, and there are no scratches or other defects. It is a good transfer.
The film is graced with a similarly good audio track - a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that is let down only, and only slightly, by the material which it represents. The gags come thick and fast and are never less than comprehensible, largely emanating from the fronts and centre array, with suitable directionality. The Chaplin-esque score keeps the surrounds fairly busy and there are even a few effects thrown into the mix for good measure. There is no real bass to talk of, but that is a minor quibble about such a decent comedy track. Although nothing to write home about, there's also no real need to do DTS for a film like this - this track is perfectly acceptable.
First up, there is an audio commentary with the Director Jay Roach and the Editor/Co-Producer John Poll. Having partnered up successfully to do Meet The Parents, and the commentary on it, they are clearly at ease with one another, and know every little bit of information you could possibly want to know about the production. Unfortunately they are not a very lively pair, and take many short pauses just to watch the movie - a habit which can enjoy a listener who has already seen the movie, as most will have. There are a few interesting titbits hidden in there though, in particular talk of DeNiro's remarkable aptitude for comedy and ability to improvise.
Next there is a three-minute Behind the Scenes featurette entitled Inside The Litter Box and centring on the Byrnes' cat, Jinx. Like many of the other featurettes on this disc, it is short and largely pointless - intended merely to be amusing fluff rather than serious documentation. In it the cast and crew talk about how important the cat is and how it is bigger than all of the big stars involved. The Manary Gland is another three-minute featurette on the special nursing device that Jack uses to feed the Byrnes' baby. The crew talk briefly about the concept idea that was based on a real device and how they selected that particular model of breast. The Adventures of a Baby Wrangler spends five minutes of your time talking about the twin babies employed to portray the young baby in the movie and how they were trained - scarily like you would see animals trained for a movie - to do various scenes repeatedly. Slightly uneasy viewing.
Next up we have the Fockers' Family Portrait, consisting of three separate options of character to select - Bernie (Dustin Hoffman), Roz (Barbara Streisland) or Greg (Ben Stiller). Each gives a couple of minutes of interview about their character, which is mixed in with a little behind the scenes footage to give it flavour. It is not a particularly involving feature but is probably worth watching just for the talent involved. Then there is An Interview with the Fockers, which is actually an interview with both families and includes the entire principle cast, although DeNiro manages to get through the whole thing barely saying a word. It seems strange actually because every time he goes to say something, the documentary edits in a bit of footage from the film and then cuts back to the family where somebody else is speaking. I don't quite understand why it is shot in such a way but given DeNiro's preference to stay away from interviews, it is nice to see him participating even passively in this family gathering.
Then there are a bunch of deleted scenes that can only be played in one big montage running for about sixteen minutes. Included are about twenty scenes, some deleted and some extended from the original scenes, and most of them need not have been included, although the ones that warrant a laugh clearly should have been! The extra DeNiro footage is always worth watching and you should hang on for the final scene where you get a double dose of Stiller. We also get an eleven-minute blooper reel that is possibly the funniest item on the disc. It is almost worth the purchase price alone to see DeNiro positively cracking up on set when he is supposed to be playing it straight. I think it's even funnier than the film itself. You should also watch out for Hoffman's blink-or-you'll-miss-it Taxi Driver impersonation that clearly should have been put into a proper scene.
Finally we get a single, solitary trailer for the rather amusing Jim Carrey vehicle, Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events.
While we wait for DeNiro to move on to greater things, I am quite happy to see him make movies like Meet The Fockers and with the great supporting cast on board, it is unsurprisingly watchable. The disc has good technical specifications and a wealth of extras - including a couple of real gems, and with a release date to compete with the almost-identical Region 1 alternative, it would seem unnecessary to go elsewhere to seek your copy. If you like Stiller - and why wouldn't you? - then this is a decent addition to his film résumé and you should pick it up now.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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