The critics have been extra harsh to the third entry in this franchise. And while the film itself isn't as bad as the poor tomatometer score might indicate it is only because we expected so much more from the movie and the people making it. Built with such solid foundation, the culmination of two movies worth of trying to get married and settling down results in a underwhelming third act and sadly, is probably not the last chapter to Focker world.

Whereas the struggle for Greg to constantly win the approval of his father-in-law might be long gone by now, the writer still find it necessary to re-visit that conflict again. But while in the second film Greg was attempting to make his parents worthy of Jacks approval here he is trying to make his kids and again, himself. It just runs out of steam and we seriously feel bad for Stillers character, wondering how long he will actually put up with this crap. Teri Polo does little to ease the pain in this film either, in fact her role along with everyone but Stiller and DeNiro's take a backseat to a new character played by Jessica Alba? What? Who's awful idea was that? While I don't usually like Alba, she proved herself humorous in a few moments but still, I would have rather had more story that included Dustin Hoffman, Barbra Streisand and Blythe Danner. Their small bits feel forced and unnecessary. What brings up even more questions are the casting of Laura Dern and Harvey Keitel in even smaller roles that were no doubt cut sufficiently once the writers had to make room for Hoffmans storyline.

To put it lightly, the movie feels messy. The story is allowed no time to develop because we are constantly trying to include everyone and the jokes, well, you've heard them all before, and the fun little bits they do seem to come up with have all been put in the trailer so no surprises whatsoever. The one saving grace of the film and seemingly the only smart move on the part of the writers was to make Owen Wilson's role a larger one. Wilson's Kevin has always floated around the edge of the family but through the years that have passed between the last film and this it seems he has become close with not only Pam, but Greg as well. Wilson makes his odd role one that elicits the most laughs and is able to create the more awkward of situations, a thing this franchise has always thrived upon.

I really wish the makers of the movie would have simply waited until all the members of the cast agreed to a time to film a script they could all agree on. Instead we are presented with a rushed, slapdash effort that, while entertaining enough to withstand a Christmas night viewing from families looking for an escape into this familiar land, it is clear the test of time will not be as kind. This was the ultimate exercise in getting a group of actors together while not having the strong material of past purposes for their gathering present. Sure, we love to see these guys banter, but it doesn't serve a good enough purpose to take a family we so adore and as an audience, feel we know, and degrade them to this. I'm really upset about it. I didn't want to believe the reviews, but I must admit, I expected more, at least some evidence of effort.

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