Daddy Day Care

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Daddy Day Care
Review (5.5/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

Charlie Hinton (Eddie Murphy) and his sidekick Phil (Jeff Garlin) are advertising executives trying to push a vegetable cereal on kids. Not surprisingly, they are both fired and can no longer afford to send their kids to a boot camp-style day care run by Miss Harridan (Anjelica Huston). The two unemployed fathers come up with a brilliant idea of opening their own day care and running it from Charlie's home. Miss Harridan soon notices empty chairs in her boot camp and sets out to sabotage Charlie and Phil. Throw in a pack of dysfunctional children and what you have is a movie called Daddy Day Care.

For any Eddie Murphy fans that by chance do exist, there is some good news. Daddy Day Care is not nearly as bad as some of the flops that Murphy has systematically released since about 1998 (minus Murphy's animated jackass in Shrek). Unfortunately, one of the main problems with this movie is Eddie Murphy. Murphy simply mails in another performance. Cashes another paycheque. There is very little emotion, humor or any kind of pizzazz behind Eddie Murphy's Charlie Hinton - again. I know it is a kids movie and I am not expecting an Oscar-worthy presence, but there is just no emotional attachment for anyone in this movie. Sure there are a couple of cute kids (Charlie's son in particular) but in general, the kids scenes are often wasted on strange anti-social behavior that would terrify even the most seasoned parent, and on missed fart and poopy jokes. And if you miss a poopy joke in a kids movie, you certainly have missed your mark.

A couple of the supporting characters are okay. Jeff Garlin and Steven Zahn are not too bad and a few of their respective scenes do elicit genuine laughs. Kevin Nealon plays a waste of a character who repeatedly shows up on screen calling Murphy and Garlin losers - who is the real loser we may never know. In the end, Murphy is given the choice of continuing his career as a successful ad exec or continuing to run a day care for the kids that we are supposed to believe he loves. I found this choice particularly interesting, but that is another story for another day.

I guess to summarize my feelings on this movie, it certainly has funny moments and that is probably good for the kids and that is probably all that matters. But I am sure that soon after the movie, like many adults, the kids will forget the movie. And if your kids act (or poop) anything like the kids in this day care, God help you!

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