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Oh, those Little Fockers

Gail Choice | 12/22/2010, 5 p.m.

"Little Fockers" is great holiday fun, filled with family hijinks. The laughs don't come as fast as in the first two prequels, but it is funny and you get the feeling that you're being set up for a fourth installment down the line.

In 2000, we were introduced to Gaylord "Greg" Focker in "Meet the Parents." He was a very satisfied man who loved his profession as a nurse, and was in a happy stable relationship, until he met his girlfriend's family at her sister's wedding. The Byrnes family, headed by Robert De Niro as Jack Byrnes, an ex-CIA operative who didn't much appreciate Greg's good intentions. Only his wife Dina, played by Blythe Danner, could accept the good in poor Greg.

"Meet the Fockers" came next in 2004. This time the Byrnes family meets the unconventional, outrageous Focker family--Roz played by Barbra Streisand and Bernie played by Dustin Hoffman are sex fiends and love life. If Jack thought Greg was off his rocker, he soon realizes he got off honestly.

That brings us to "Little Fockers." Now married with twins, a boy and girl, Focker finds himself, still a nurse, but in an executive position. Happily married, Greg and Pam (Teri Polo) are in the process of refurbishing a stately home in a quiet community where they can raise their children. His daughter, by the way, has stopped speaking to him, and his son thinks he's just a little strange.

The movie turns serious when Jack (De Niro) decides he needs to select a new head of the family. Very disappointed in his other daughter's broken marriage, Jack looks to the Focker branch of the family. Greg thinks he's prepared to meet the challenge. With his parents safely tucked away doing their own thing, he prepares to stand toe to toe with Jack, determined to win his respect. But he didn't count on Andi Garcia Jessica Alba).

Andi is a very hyper pharmaceutical sales rep who first befriends Greg, and then takes a liking to him ... sort of. She reps a male enhancement product and thinks Greg would make a great spokesperson. The hook, line and sinker for Greg is that the freelance job pays well. And surprisingly Greg does very well at the expense of his father-in-law, which proves not to be a good move.

Immediately Greg and Andi's relationship raises eyebrows and doesn't go unnoticed by Jack. However, an old flame of Dina's enters the picture--the very rich, very odd Kevin Rawley, played by Owen Wilson, much to the delight of Jack.

The familiar jealousies ensue, and havoc reigns, especially when the Fockers turn up unexpectedly at a lavish birthday party for the children thrown by Kevin. Greg is determined to show not only Jack but his father that he is as much of a man as they are when it comes to being a loyal husband and father. That being said, you can expect the unexpected when Greg sets out to prove his manhood.

"Little Fockers" is less about the children and more about the relationship between the Greg and Jack. Has Jack finally met his match? When you forget about all the mishaps, misgivings, and sudden surprises, Greg has ample opportunity to prove his manhood and leadership abilities.

"Little Fockers" is in theaters on Christmas Day.