The rare sequel that is far funnier than the box-office smash upon which it is based, Meet the Fockers (2004) is flat-out hilarious. Credit must be given to director Jay Roach and his team of writers for recognizing that the largely one-joke Meet the Parents (2000) coasted too much on the power of its high-concept premise and that any subsequent story would need to be more character-driven and superbly cast. It's a testament to their understanding of comedy that Robert De Niro's Jack Byrnes character is as much the protagonist of Fockers as Ben Stiller's shlubby Gaylord, which gives the story a little more comic elbow room, opening it up for the introduction of Roz and Bernie Focker. They're stereotypes to be sure, but character clichés are where the laughs and the fun are in this franchise. What is Jack if not the boiler-plate Republican father? What is Greg/Gaylord if not the next-generation Milquetoast boyfriend, and both Dina (Blythe Danner) and Pam (Teri Polo) if not the shiksa goddesses of the entire Woody Allen catalogue? Dustin Hoffman and Barbra Streisand seem to be having a genuine ball as gooey-liberal Florida retiree foils, their energy kicking the rest of the cast up a notch. Even De Niro, who has been sleepwalking through some of his latter-career roles, is more engaged, particularly in his scenes with Hoffman and the twin infant actors portraying his grandson, "Little Jack." Meet the Fockers (2004) goes awry in a third act that shoehorns a pointless chase sequence and a star cameo into the mix, but it's over painlessly quickly and strikes the only false chords in what is otherwise a hysterically funny follow-up.