Meet the Fockers appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Though the transfer got off to a rough start, it improved quickly and generally looked quite solid.
Sharpness did vary a bit. Overall, the flick demonstrated good accuracy and definition, but occasional exceptions occurred. A few wide shots displayed mild fuzziness and softness. I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, but edge enhancement cropped up periodically, especially during the movie’s early scenes. As for source concerns, mild grain was apparent, and I saw some examples of specks as well. Most of the movie stayed clean, however.
Colors were pretty positive. A few scenes showed lackluster tones; again, those issues usually appeared during the movie’s early parts. The tones improved as the flick progressed, especially when we got to the tropical Florida setting. Those shots presented some nicely lively and vivid colors. Blacks were quite deep and firm, while low-light sequences presented nice clarity and definition. The transfer included more problems than I’d expect from a new flick, but it still was good enough for a “B-”.
When we got to the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Meet the Fockers, we found audio that served as low-key support for the action. As one might expect, the sound stayed heavily focused in the forward channels. Occasional use of the surrounds occurred in scenes on the road and at parties, but don’t expect much material from the back speakers. The front channels added decent ambience.
Audio quality was fine. Speech always sounded natural and crisp, and I noticed no issues connected to edginess or intelligibility. Music came across as reasonably dynamic and lively, though the score and songs never really stood out as stellar. Effects played a minor role but they created accurate elements with acceptable range. The only problem stemmed from a few moments during which the subwoofer hummed a little for no apparent reason. There wasn’t anything exciting on display here, but the sound did the job it needed to do.
As we move to the DVD’s extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Jay Roach and editor/co-producer John Poll, both of whom sit together for this running, screen-specific track. They hit on a number of good topics. We hear about cast and characters, story points and issues related to the sequel, music, locations, sets, deleted sequences and editing, and production design. Many of these comments prove illuminating, such as when we find out about working with the youngsters cast as little Jack, and there are also nice notes about improvisation and dealing with so many famous performers. The track occasionally sags, but in general it proves entertaining and useful.
20 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 15 minutes and 35 seconds. As you can tell from that running time, these are short snippets. They’re more in the realm of scenelets than full sequences, so expect brief extensions of existing bits. The unused parts from the wedding reception present the most substantial cuts, especially when Stiller does double duty as Jorge’s father.
In addition to the deleted scenes, we find 11 minutes and four seconds of Bloopers. Boy, that’s a lot of outtakes, and most of them are just the usual laughs and mistakes. A few interesting bits pop up, though. It’s oddly fascinating to see De Niro read the same line identically while he holds up different sex book covers, and Hoffman does a funny De Niro impression at one point. Most telling comment: during a take on the “foreskin in the fondue” scene, Hoffman caps it with a remark about how he got into acting to do Shakespeare.
Next comes a featurette called Inside the Litter Box: Behind the Scenes with Jinx the Cat. This four-minute and three-second piece presents movie snippets, behind the scenes shots, and comments from Roach, Poll, set PA Denis O’Sullivan Jr., Jinx’s personal assistant Dawn Barkan, set lighting technician James McClure, Jinx’s personal costumer Robert Mata, stand-in John Polce, and actor Ben Stiller. In this cutesy piece, all involved discuss what a diva Jinx became after the success of the first movie. Avoid this annoying promotional goo.
Another featurette entitled The Manary Gland takes up three minutes and six seconds. Here we get notes from Roach and prop master Eugene McCarthy. We learn about the desire to strap a fake tit onto De Niro and its construction. It’s an odd featurette but it becomes reasonably informative.
Fockers’ Family Portrait splits into three short pieces. We get little featurettes about “Bernie Focker” (two minutes, 22 seconds), “Roz Focker” (1:46) and “Greg Focker” (1:53). In these we get remarks from Stiller and actors Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand. Each actor talks a little about the movie, their roles, and their impressions. None of the comments add up to much in these fluffy little clips.
Yet another featurette, Adventures of a Baby Wrangler goes for five minutes, 34 seconds. We find notes from baby wrangler Rhonda Sherman as she explains her job. We learn about some of the challenges inherent in working with babies as well as her impressions of the Fockers set. She provides some decent information but the tone remains too superficial for this to turn into anything terribly useful.
Matt Lauer Meets the Fockers presents a publicity piece that lasts seven minutes, 57 seconds. The Today Show host sits with Streisand, De Niro, Hoffman, Stiller, Teri Polo and Blythe Danner. Although it’s cool to see all that talent sit together and chat, the promotional nature of the clip remains clear. We hear a lot of talk about how much fun everything was and not much else.
In addition to a promo for TV’s Scrubs, we get a Cast and Filmmakers section. This includes biographies for actors Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand, Blythe Danner, and Teri Polo plus director Roach, writers Jim Herzfeld, Marc Hyman and John Hamburg, producer Jane Rosenthal and executive producers Amy Sayres and Nancy Tenenbaum. These mostly fall into the category of “annotated filmography”, but they’re not bad.
The DVD launches with a few ads. We get promos for In Good Company, Magnum PI, Knight Rider, and The A Team.
Arguably the biggest waste of talent I've seen ever, Meet the Fockers is a bad flick. Actually, “bad” doesn’t cover the stench of this cinematic excrement, as it’s a painful experience due to the disparity between the talent involved and the non-existent amusement. The DVD presents decent but unspectacular picture and audio as well as mostly fluffy extras highlighted by a good audio commentary. Why this atrocious movie attracted so many fans remains beyond me, for Fockers is genuinely terrible.