The Pacifier

Someone recently inquired if I was taking mean pills. How else could I explain my disdain for the current crop of theatrical misfires?

Ah, the old shoot the messenger routine. Blame the critic instead of the crap that always rises to the top of the bowl this time of year. If it were my job to review only good films then you’d see expanded stock market coverage in this space nine weeks out of ten, and the tips I give won’t land you in Camp Cupcake.

That brings me to The Pacifier, a film I saw out of obligation rather than choice. After sitting through Man of the House last week, I’d had my fill of fish out of water stories for this month. Yet one week later arrives The Pacifier, a Seal out of water story that mixes the best and worst from previous genre entries Kindergarten Cop, Mr. Mom and, take a deep breath, Mr. Nanny.

Quite frankly, you could swap the titles of Man of the House and The Pacifier and no one would know. Both films are as generic as their titles, but for some reason just the sight of action star Vin Diesel playing domestic Goddess to a quintuplet of studio cloned kids made me laugh, and not one of those uncomfortable I can’t believe I’m sitting here laughs.

The Pacifier isn’t an adult movie. It’s for kids and teenagers, who will probably get a big kick out of watching macho man Diesel try and tame a household while maintaining some degree of authority and dignity. The screenplay by Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant is pedestrian yet functional, allowing Diesel and the kids to rise above the material and make it their own.

The kids may not be the Von Trapps (The Sound of Music plays an important part in one of the kid’s growth process) but they do come with convenient character issues that can be quickly cleaned up before the final credits roll. Director Adam Shankman (Bringin’ Down The House) keeps things moving at such a clip even when the film becomes maudlin we just sit tight and wait for the next wacky episode.

Diesel has fun with the role of the Navy Seal hired to protect the children of a scientist whose latest invention has attracted the interest of several nefarious groups. The political subplots take a back seat to the domestic duties of a man fighting the biggest battle of his life. Diesel captures the target audience with little sweat.

Seal Out Of Water

Pacifier Fulfills Mission


Vin Diesel, Lauren Graham, Faith Ford, Brittany Snow, Max Thieriot, Morgan York, Brad Garrett. Directed by Adam Shankman. Rated PG. 95 Minutes.


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