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Daddy Day Care

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Daddy Day Care

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Anjelica Huston
Director: Steve Carr
Rated: PG
RunTime: 92 Minutes
Release Date: May 2003
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Susan Santiago, Steve Zahn, Michelle Krusiec, Makenzie Vega, Jeff Garlin, Regina King

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

With the frenetic energy of a bunch of toddlers who have overdosed on Twinkies, DADDY DAY CARE hits the comedic mark every now and then, but how it gets some of its laughs may trouble parents of the young kids who are the target audience.

The movie's central conceit is that men could never be daycare workers. That's a woman's job. The mere sight of men attempting such a feat will be funny. At least that's what its director, Steve Carr (DR. DOLITTLE 2), wants us to believe.

The story's star, Eddie Murphy, plays Charlie Hinton, a product manager for Veggie-Os, "the cereal of the future." Charlie's future quickly turns sour when kids declare that they aren't the least bit interested in vegetables for breakfast.

With his wife (Regina King) setting out on her new career as a lawyer, Charlie becomes a stay-at-home dad to his young son. Although he isn't particularly successful with one kid, he decides his economic salvation will be an in-home daycare facility for a pack of preschoolers. To help him, he recruits his ex-coworkers, Phil (Jeff Garlin) and Marvin (Steve Zahn). Marvin is a doofus who used to be "the guy who smelled the mail" at their old company. Another story thread has Miss Harridan (Angelica Huston) running a rival preschool that is so advanced and strict that they teach four languages -- soon to be five with the addition of Portuguese -- and prepare their students for their SATs for college.

It's hard to keep track of all of the questionable behaviors that the movie's young audiences will be exposed to. These include: asking for money as a daily bribe to stop screaming, drinking soap bubble solution, kicking adults in the groin, calling 911 when their dolls are in danger, riding lawnmowers, wiping their boogers on fellow students, and saying "Shut up, butt-head!" to their teachers. There is also lots of bathroom humor.

"Let's not kid ourselves," Phil admits to Charlie after they've been running their daycare center for a while. "We don't know anything about daycare. We're not even good parents." Amen. But, of course, a corny ending will argue otherwise.

DADDY DAY CARE runs 1:32. It is rated PG for "language" and would be acceptable for kids around 10 and up. (Warning: Younger kids will be susceptible to mimicking some of the questionable/bad/dangerous behaviors shown in the movie.)

My son Jeffrey, age 14, gave it ***. A big Eddie Murphy fan, he thought Murphy did a very good job and was quite funny. He liked all of the casting, including my personal favorite in the picture, Steve Zahn. His only complaint was that he found the rival preschool to be too unrealistic.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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