Well, if Dustin Hoffman‘s presence in movies like Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, Hook and Outbreak didn’t telegraph his motivating principle, The Playlist released a very entertaining list of things we should know about Little Fockers. Topping this list of fun facts is Hoffman’s casual confirmation to the Playlist’s reporter on his only reason for appearing in the latest chronicle of the Focker clan: “The back end.”

Yep, the man who won an Oscar for not wearing any underwear (in Rain Man, of course), is all about the gross points on what will quite likely be a nice holiday haul – the Jay Roach-directed Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers combined made about $345 million worldwide (big money for a comedy series).

Among the somewhat interesting factoids in the Playlist piece, we learn that Ben Stiller hopes to shoot Zoolander 2 in 2011, Jessica Alba retracts her comments regarding the uselessness of screenwriters and there’s just a ton of deleted stuff from Little Fockers for the DVD.

I suppose we can forgive Hoffman – if you want. Still, this is the guy who would run half a mile for a take during Marathon Man because “You can’t fake being out of breath.” He gave us Ratso Rizzo and The Graduate. Oh, well.

Guess who’s not so forgiving? The critics! Yes, many are already weighing in. Here’s a cross-section from Metacritic:

James Berardinelli, from ReelViews: Watching Little Fockers is a depressing experience. Rarely does a comedy bring such an overpowering sense of sadness.

Michelle Orange, from Movieline: This latest is grim stuff: Little Fockers hardly bothers with finding a reason to exist, although one might assume a focus on the abiding hilarity of life with small children. That assumption would be wrong.

Todd McCarthy, from The Hollywood Reporter: Clearly nothing but a paycheck project for all concerned, this is definitely the least and hopefully the last of a franchise that started amusingly enough a decade ago but has now officially overstayed its welcome.

Roger Moore, from the Orlando Sentinel: Paul Weitz (“Cirque du Freak,” “American Dreamz”) takes over as director, and the film shows all the signs of re-shoots and re-edits designed to bring in more characters and perhaps find a few more laughs.

Yes, it’s a bloodbath, folks. Will audiences care, by and large, what the critics think? Will Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark be a disaster? (As in, isn’t it obvious?)

What part of the decline of the Meet the Parents franchise are you most disappointed (and least surprised) about?

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