Australian Council on Children and the Media

Little Fockers

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Short takes

Not suitable under 13, PG to 15 (Themes, sexual references, violence)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Little Fockers
  • a review of Little Fockers completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 6 January 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not suitable due to themes, sexual references and violence
Children 13-14 Parental guidance recommended due to themes and sexual references.
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Little Fockers
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Sexual references and comedic violence
Length 98 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Little Fockers, the third instalment in the Meet the Parents saga opens as Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and his wife Pam (Teri Polo) prepare for the fifth birthday of their twins Henry and Samantha.

Greg, now a hospital administrator, is approached by Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba), a drug company representative, who offers him a moonlighting job presenting a penis erectile dysfunction drug called Sustengo to a group of doctors at a hotel convention.

Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro), Greg’s father in-law, after suffering a mild heart attack and realising his own mortality, phones Greg and appoints him the new family patriarch, the “God-Focker”, a role that Greg takes on board with relish. A couple of week later, Jack and Dina Byrnes (Blythe Danner) arrive for an extended visit on Thanksgiving.

In order to be able to afford to maintain his house in the style fitting a “God-Focker”, Greg decides to take up Andi Garcia’s job offer. However, due to a comedy of errors, his suspicious father-in-law forms the mistaken impression that Greg is having an affair with Andi, and Greg’s life becomes increasingly complicated.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Erectile dysfunction drugs; relationship problems

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Little Fockers contains slapstick and comedic violence and accidental harm, including some exaggerated blood and gore. Examples include:

  • Jack Byrnes rings 911 and asks for an ambulance, telling the operator that he is going into cardiac arrest and that he is going to attempt to defibrillate himself. He takes hold of two electrical wires and puts them close to his chest. The scene cuts with the lights dimming.        
  • Greg Focker, while using a very large knife to carve a turkey, slips and cuts his finger. He grabs hold of his cut finger with blood spurting out across the dinner table.
  • Kevin holds Henry in his arms and cracks the boy’s neck with Henry instantly falling unconscious. Kevin says that it is a massage technique that causes you to fall asleep.
  • Greg tells Jack that they should place an explosive device in another man’s oven and blow the man up, making it look like an accidental gas leak, but then tells Jack that he was joking. 
  • Five-year-old Henry climbs a wall and falls. We so not see him hit the ground but hear the sound of a thud.. Later we see the boy in hospital having his wrist plastered and hear that he has a slight fracture. .
  • A woman pushes Greg backwards into a large deep hole in the ground, then throws herself into the hole and we hear a loud thud as she lands on top of Greg. Later we see the pair lying unconscious in the bottom of the hole with the woman lying on top of Greg. Both recover uninjured.
  • While at the twin’s birthday party, Greg and Jack engage in a violent fist fight. They punch each other in the mouth and face, twist each other’s arms, attempt to strangle each other, knee each other in the stomach and wrestle. At one point the two men jump into a ball pit and continue their fight while a number of children are playing in the pit. Greg shouts to the children to get out and we hear the children screaming as they scramble out of the pit. By the end of the fight both men are covered with small cuts and bruises.
  • Following the fist fight between Jack and Greg, Jack grabs his chest as if suffering a heart attack. An ambulance arrives and we see Jack wheeled to the ambulance on a stretcher.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • Henry vomits over his father’s face and chest. We see the stream of vomit leave the boy’s mouth and shower Greg and we hear gagging sounds.
  • Jack tells his grandson how when he was in a war a gecko crawled into his ear and laid eggs and that he had to get the sergeant to take them out before the lavae entered his brain. 
  • In a preschool, a man lifts what appears to be a human brain out of a bowl and shows it to a class of very young children.
  • A cat chases and catches a lizard. People chase the cat with the lizard half hanging out of its mouth. Greg catches the cat and squeezes its stomach, causing the cat to spit out the lizard which is unharmed.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by the above-mentioned scenes

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Younger children in this group may also be disturbed by some of the above mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Nothing of concern

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Apple computers

Sexual references

Frequent sexual references include:

  • On a number of occasions reference is made to an erectile dysfunction drug that increases penile blood flow. 
  • While a nurse attempts to put an enema tube in a man’s rectum we hear the man telling the nurse to “get out of my arse”. Two more nurses enter the room to complete the procedure, during which we hear the pair making numerous sexual references such as: the benefits of lubricating and dilation; focusing on relaxing your anus; it being a natural response to protect a body cavity etc.
  • Greg’s mother Roz Focker hosts a sex therapy television program with the tagline “Sexpress yourself”. During one of her shows we hear her talking about musical condoms that play the tune faster as you move faster, and she also talks about how Greg got carpal tunnel syndrome from masturbating continuously as a teenager.
  • Five-year-old Henry asks if girls can “poop” from their vaginas..
  • While visiting an early learning centre, Jack and Greg are mistaken for a gay couple.
  • Greg tells his wife that selling “boner medication” creeps him out.  
  • When Pam sees Andi she tells Greg “You told me she sold boner medicine. You didn’t tell me she was boner medicine”.
  • While giving a presentation Greg talks about keeping your snake (penis) in a cage

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Women wearing brief, revealing clothing.
  • While at a hotel, we see Andi kissing Greg on the cheek.
  • After viewing Roz Focker’s sex therapy shows on TV, Dina Byrnes, wearing lingerie beneath a coat, approaches Jack in an seductive manner kissing him on the lips and staying. “Let’s be quick”. Jack picks up a box of Sustengo. Later, Greg comes home to find Jack sitting in the lounge room. He glances at Jack’s crotch and asks him if everything was alright down there. When Greg asks Jack how long he has had an  erection, Jack admits to taking the drug Sustengo and that he had maintained the erection for more than five hours, stating that he was having a “dick attack”; we see a huge bulge in the front of Jack’s pants. Jack asks Greg to give him a needle to counteract the effects of the Sustengo and in the next scene we find the two men in the bathroom with Greg holding a needle and Jack dropping his pants.
  • While at an early learning centre, Greg’s five-year-old son is asked to draw a picture and when the picture is viewed by a female teacher we hear the woman looks shocked and we see a stick figure drawing of Greg sticking a needle into Jack’s penis telling the woman that it was a picture of his daddy helping his grandpa have a wee wee.
  • A man makes suggestive thrusting motions with his hips while standing behind another man who is talking to a woman.
  • Andi takes off her shirt and leaps upon Greg wrapping her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist while kissing him passionately on the lips. Greg pushes her away and runs outside. Andi follows Greg and while standing in front of him, removes her skirt.
  • After Kevin mistakes Roz’s intentions, he kisses her on the lips just as her husband Bernie walks in. Bernie asks Kevin to leave so that he can have sex with his wife and Roz tells Bernie that Kevin’s kiss had some tongue in it.  

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Throughout the film multiple reference are made to male erectile dysfunction drugs. We see a man taking erectile dysfunction drugs and see Andi spiking Greg’s drink with them.
  • Andi inhales some type of drug through her nose.
  • On several occasions men and women drinking alcohol during dinner and at bars, and there is some intoxication.
  • Jack asks Greg to give him an injection to counteract the effects of the erectile dysfunction drug.
  • Andi and Greg consume wine, drinking an entire bottle with Andi becoming intoxicated and behaving in an erratic manner.

Coarse language

Little Fockers contains coarse language, and name-calling. Examples include:

  • In the film the Name ‘Focker’ sounds just like the word ‘fucker’ with the name used in a variety of ways such as “My Focker, God Focker, Focker sandwich, Mom Focker, this Gay Focker, and Fockerised. When Greg injects Jack in his penis Jack shouts out “Focker!”
  • Get out of my arse; bad arse, shit (used in a variety of ways), boobs, bastard, boner, Jesus Christ, O my god, scum-bag

In a nutshell

Little Fockers is the third instalment in the Meet the Parents comedy saga and contains the same type of material seen in the first two films. It is suited to an older adolescent and adult audience with most of the film’s humour and sexual references being unsuitable for children under thirteen. Younger children would also find the film’s storyline of little interest. 

The film’s main message is that a harmonious family is achieved through love, tolerance and cooperation rather than a controlling patriarch or matriarch.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include commitment to family: Both Greg and Jack view their family as the most important thing and are willing to sacrifice much and undergo hardship for their family.

Parents may wish to discuss the real life consequences of Jack’s over-the-top controlling behaviour. His desire to control every aspect of his daughter’s family causes the family to become less stable rather than more stable.

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