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MEET THE FOCKERS

About The Production
An old show business axiom dictates that comedy is truth—a glimmer of recognition, the acknowledgment of a familiar situation, as in "Hey, that happened to me,” quickly followed by the nearly instantaneous feeling of relief that this (most probably) painful situation is happening to someone else, onscreen.

For instance: being introduced to the intimidating parents of your intended spouse and finding out that your future father-in-law is a covert government agent with a knack for ferreting out the truth. Or, even worse still, after meeting the couple that produced the person you love, having your future in-laws down for their first introductions to your own flawed, idiosyncratic family—a stay-at-home father and liberal lawyer from the 1970s and his plain-speaking, sex counselor wife.

In order for the originating filmmakers and cast of the runaway comedy hit of 2000, Meet the Parents, to return to the story of a male nurse named Gaylord Focker and his desire to marry the WASPy daughter of a CIA operative, all needed to be sure that the story was worth continuing and that the new ground trod would prove (as it had in the past) rife with comic and truthful possibilities.

And while the first film ended with the question that suggested a possible sequel, (when Jack Byrnes asks his wife, Dina, "What kind of people would name their child Gaylord Focker?”), it was much easier in theory than in reality to continue the comic storyline begun in the original. Because Meet the Parents proved successful with the public—eventually grossing more than $300 million worldwide—as well as critics, all concerned realized that the bar for a potential follow-up had been sat rather high.

"The response to the first movie was so overwhelming, that it was quite hard to find a story that could live up to our expectations for a sequel,” says producer of both Parents and Meet the Fockers, Jane Rosenthal. "We were genuinely thrilled that Parents had struck such a chord with audiences. So it was always about finding the best story.” The key to the follow-up lay in finding out just who had produced Greg—what sort of people would, in fact, shackle a child with the name Gaylord Focker?

For the director of both films, Jay Roach, the issue was not so much who these Fockers would be, but how they would compare to the upstanding family from Oyster Bay, the Byrneses. And although always attached as the director of the possible sequel, Roach "needed to be convinced that there was a reason to make another film,” offers Rosenthal. "He always said, ‘There has to be a compelling reason to tell this story.' It was never just a sequel for a sequel's sake. He kept that question in the forefront of everyone's mind every step of the way.”

Says Roach: "I think Greg Focker dreads the Byrneses meeting the Fockers because he knows that they're worlds apart, both culturally and socially. In almost any way that you can imagine, the Fockers are going to be a little bit problematic for him in terms of the way he knows Jack Byrnes will look at them and judge them. It's Greg's dread and bleak fantasy that drives this all forward.”

Greg has continued in his habit of bending the truth, trying to tell people what he thinks they want to hear. It doesn't help that he has intimated that his father is a lawyer (which he was, but put his career on hold to stay at home and raise Greg) and his mother, a doctor (true, but he's left out the vital detail that she counsels senior citizens on ways to improve and prolong their sex life well into their twilight years).

It is the impending family get-together that will allow Pam's father the chance to evaluate the legacy potential of the Focker family line—as Jack says in the film: "…like studying a frozen caveman, if I can see where you came from, I'll have a better idea of where you're goin

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