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Humor feels a 'Little' forced

"Little Fockers" (PG-13): Sometimes a comedy franchise runs out of steam. Despite a scattering of real laughs, the humor feels awfully forced in "Little Fockers." That doesn't mean high schoolers won't get a charge out of watching adults behave badly in the film.

The sexually focused humor is pretty graphic at times, making "Little Fockers" inappropriate for middle schoolers. Nurse Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) has been promoted at the hospital, and he and his wife Pam (Teri Polo) have two young children. Greg's relationship with his suspicious, ex-CIA father-in-law Jack Byrnes (Robert De Niro) has mellowed, until Jack gets the idea that Greg may be having an affair with a flirtatious pharmaceutical rep named Andi Garcia (Jessica Alba).

The adult-oriented sexual humor features erectile dysfunction jokes, including visual gags about that four-hour Viagra side effect, as well as other sexual innuendo and behavior. In a hospital scene, Greg and Andi insert a tube into a patient's backside. Characters use mild profanity, misuse prescription drugs, drink and engage in digestive humor.


"Gulliver's Travels" (PG): Jack Black brings his laid-back, irreverent sensibilities to this likable adaptation of Jonathan Swift's 18th-century novel. The film is no masterpiece, and indeed lacks cinematic panache, but it radiates good humor, which could win the hearts of kids 10 and older. Lemuel Gulliver has languished for years in the modern-day mailroom of a major magazine. He can't even bring himself to ask out his secret crush, travel writer Darcy Silverman (Amanda Peet). On a bad impulse, he submits plagiarized writing samples to her and she gives him an assignment to sail a boat alone in the Bermuda Triangle and write about it. He encounters a huge (slightly scary) storm, is engulfed, and wakes up on a beach, tied up by the little bitty people of Lilliput, who appear to live in 18th- or 19th-century Europe. Gulliver helps the Lilliputians repel equally tiny invaders and becomes a pampered hero.

The battle scenes are not scary, even when tiny invading ships fire cannonballs at Gulliver. His sojourn with giants (where he is the tiny person) is very brief, and we only see one (albeit huge) young girl who plunks Gulliver in her dollhouse. There he finds the skeletal remains of a previous prisoner. The film does a decent job of demonstrating how unacceptable Gulliver's lying and plagiarism are.


"Yogi Bear" (PG): The very youngest kids you might bring to a cartoon matinee, say ages 3 to 8, may be amused by the slapstick gags in this labored farce. Parents will just have to nap. The film clumsily blends live-action, computer animation and 3-D. The resulting hybrid looks dark, with washed-out colors. And when real-life actors share scenes with Yogi and Boo Boo, it never seems the humans and 'toons are in the same space. Stalwart Ranger Smith (Tom Cavanagh), who's in charge of Jellystone Park, is not all that impressed that Yogi Bear (voice of Dan Aykroyd) and his sidekick Boo Boo (Justin Timberlake) can talk. But when the sleazy mayor (Andrew Daly) decides to close Jellystone to make way for developers, Ranger Smith and the bears team up to save the park.

The 3-D aspect of the film is not scary, nor is the cartoony mayhem. Yogi nearly gets smashed in various ways, but he always recovers, and there is a bit of toilet humor.

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