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Okay, sometimes I think the critics are all single "non-family" people. I just got back from viewing this movie with 7 adults and 11 children. It was wonderful to watch the kids giggle and hurrah at Vin Diesel, tough guy, nice guy, real softie routine. Whether he was kicking bad guys or changing diapers, he was great. While there were many clichés and material we've all seen in other forms, we sometime forget that this stuff works. My child is 8 and this is fresh to him. I'm so please that we were able to bring 18 people of varying ages who all had a good time. I say forget the negatives and focus on what we sometimes forget, an afternoon or evening with you kids is the best pacifier.
Okay, first this movie is great for what it is meant to be, a family friendly comedy romp. It has funny moments, touching moments, it gives you chuckles and even a few laughs. It isn't trying to win awards or stun the audience with special effects. You sit down, watch it, laugh a little, think about how cute the kids are, then go on with the rest of your day. A lot of action stars have taken a turn at comedy to soften their image, Stallone and Arnold S. to name a couple, so Vin Diesel is in good company there. I think it is a decent, light movie worth at least a matinée viewing. The kids are charmers, Vin Diesel doesn't seem to mind being the but of jokes, and most of the acting is good. And ladies, he spends most of the movie in tight t-shirts, and according to my wife has a nice posterior region. Guys you have to settle for Lauren Graham's sweet smile.
Probably one of my most enjoyable movie experiences ever. My (22-year-old) daughter and her friend are Vin Diesel fans, and I like stupid movies, so we went off to see this with no particular expectations. It was delightful! The acting was good, the writing was just off-kilter enough to surprise, and the plot, while predictable, was only predictable a few seconds in advance (which is about how long it took for Vin Diesel's character to process a thought). Our little group of cynics was charmed and quoting lines from the movie all the way home afterwards. We agreed that it was indeed a Disney movie, but it didn't have the cheesy hollowness and wannabe withitness that has hampered those productions since Hayley Mills was my age. Bits of it were unexpectedly moving. Vin Diesel's little side romance was also charming, with a breath of gentle kinkiness ("On land, you're the superior officer," he says to his honey, and she smirks.) Basically it was funny, stupid, and sweet without being annoying, and Vin Diesel was excellent in it. I'll buy it when it comes out in video, or my daughter will--she works in a trendy video store, so that she liked the movie is saying a lot.
I was fortunate to win tickets to a preview of this movie from a local radio station,for myself and my three daughters (9,11 and 14). I did not expect to enjoy this movie, and was simply glad to be there for their sake. It was very entertaining and Vin Diesel did a great job, especially considering it was a comedy. Often when an action star attempts comedy it fails miserably. I rate this movie 8 out of 10 stars, and my daughters all loved it as well. We talked and laughed about it all the way home. I am certain that a few of the catch phrases will be with us for a while. This movie was a blast. Disney did a great job with this one.
In brief: "A bit more cutesy than "Kindergarten Cop," but more
family-friendly, and Vin Diesel shows his versatility."
I don't usually attend screenings for kids' movies, but when I first found out about this film, I was very curious to see how Vin Diesel would do in a kid's film. I've liked Vin Diesel ever since "Pitch Black", and while some may dismiss him as a muscle-bound action workhorse, I've long thought that there was more to him lurking behind that facade, and remembering the skepticism that greeted Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempts at comedyskepticism that was greeted with what I thought were successful turns in "Twins" and "Kindergarten Cop", I was curious to see how successfully Diesel would play against type.
The result is a family film more cutesy and farcical than "Kindergarten Cop", (the model my mind kept going back to for comparison), with an unfortunately greater focus on infant waste products, but greater conflict between Diesel and his young charges, which lends itself to more heartwarming moments of rapport-building.
Diesel plays Lt. Shane Wolfe, a Navy SEAL assigned to protect the five children of a top scientist (Tate Donovan), and find a hidden computer program that may be secreted in his house while their mother (Faith Ford) and Wolfe's C.O. journey to Zurich to try and find the right code word for the scientist's safety deposit box. A simple assignment, it seems, except these kids have issues. Eldest son Seth is defiant, suffers bullying from fellow students and the school's V.P., and is negligent in his wrestling team responsibilities. Oldest daughter Zoe ("American Dreams"'s Brittany Snow) is truant in her Driver's Ed class, and willfully disobedient. The problems of the youngest three, Lulu, Peter, and Tyler, seem simpler, but are no less mountainous for Wolfe, who first tries addressing these problems with the roughshod military discipline he's accustomed to, but soon finds himself changing tactics by listening to these kids' problems, and helping them out more as a parent than a military bodyguard. Whereas Schwarzenegger's character was instantly ingratiated with the object of his protection in "Kindergarten Cop" by becoming friends and eventually boyfriend to his mom, and merely had to win his class' attention, here Wolfe has the more difficult task of cutting through the layers of resentment in a pair of teenagers, taking care of an infant and two young children, and protecting them from assassins that come crashing through windows, which lends itself to both some genuinely warm moments when he opens up to Seth and Zoe, and some surprisingly interesting but funny action sequences that seem evocative of Jackie Chan, with a really nice setup-and-payoff when Wolfe realizes the secret to getting to the computer program.
This is obviously a film geared more for the kids, as evidenced by the kooky overacting, the silly Swiss stereotypes (which I didn't even realized existed), and the goofy actions on the part of the bad guys, such as the revelation, for example, that squirting a juice box into a bad guy's face is akin to spraying it with acid (and somehow keeps the bad guy from falling backward in response), but while that may be a let-down to the older folk, the parents will probably be pleased, since I recall some parents being upset with the more adult scenes in "Kindergarten Cop".
The bottom line is, bring the kids to see it, but if unless you're a die-hard Diesel fan, and want to see anything he does, it probably won't be your cup of tea if you're past grade school.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
The Story: After failing to save a scientist - not his fault, just to
be clear - Navy SeAL Shane Wolf (Vin Diesel) is assigned to watch over
the man's children while their mother helps the government retrieve a
program that he was working on. Cue wackiness!
The Good: Hey, it's funny! Which is strange, since I went into it expecting extreme lameness at every turn. Which, yah, it had a share of jokes that fell flat and stuff that just didn't really work, but the good, honest laughs in it far outweighed the bad.
Vin Diesel does well in his role . . . but then he's been playing the badass character for a while, so it's nothing really new for him. He's taken well to the humor aspect also. He managed to pull off a harried super-disciplinarian quite well.
The children are all great, too. The little ones are especially adorable. And the connection that's forged between all of them feels quite genuine and touching.
The harness that Shane wears throughout the movie is awesome. Military meets soccer mom . . . I like it.
The Bad: Not original in the least. Seems like hardly anything is nowadays. There are a number of jokes that are recycled directly from other movies of this type, even. Maybe not done as well as in this one, but still. And the story moves along pretty much as one would expect. They were obviously trying to be predictable and comfortable as possible . . . this is a family flick, after all.
The beginning of the movie (the first fifteen to twenty minutes, I'd say) moves EXTREMELY FAST, jumping from one bit to the other at almost breakneck speed. The movie is pretty long as it is (I didn't keep exact track or anything, but surely it can't possibly be 91 minutes!), so I'm guessing that this is because a lot of cuts were made, and most of them were concentrated up front. The main problem with this is that there's a real difficulty feeling anything concerning the family's loss until much later in the movie. Up to that later point, there's just sort of a sense of "Eh, so what?"
There's some cops that show up at the end. And . . . well, they don't really do anything. Seemed like the filmmakers just had some budget padding they wanted to liquidate right quick.
The Deal: Virtually everything about this movie - from the story to the characters on down - hits its target demographic right on the mark. It's a perfect flick if you want to bundle up the kids and the spouse and head out for a fun couple of hours. And even if you don't have kids or a spouse, check it out anyway. It's got enough chuckles and full out belly laugh moments in it for everyone.
If you liked Kindergarten Cop, there's a good chance you'll like this film. It's in a similar vein, the plot of the hardened male (Vin Deisel) forced to deal with multiple children. But this movie could've been better. I thought a lot of the action scenes seemed forced and a little on the ridiculous side. I love ninjas, but they just weren't well-played. But the side-plots involving the children's school were mostly entertaining, Morgan York (Lulu) stole the show, and Brad Garret (Vice Principal Murney) was hysterical. Scott Thompson (the Director) was also quite funny, but I would've liked to see more of him. So though I found the action portions disappointing, your kids would probably like the movie and you won't be too tortured.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I did not really know what to expect from Director Adam Shankman's "The
Pacifier" starring very serious action star, Vin Diesel. Shankman had
done well with "Bringing Down the House" with Queen Latifa and Steve
Martin. So having Vin Diesel as a no nonsense Navy SEAL protecting a
family of 5 kids in the middle of suburbia in a Disney release, no
less, seemed like an artistic stretch. To "The Pacifier"'s credit, it
works. "The Pacifier" is predictable, and shamelessly sentimental at
times, which is expected. Through it's charm, family message
(invariably centered around discipline), and likable characters, "The
Pacifier" becomes one of those rare commodities-- great family
entertainment. I am a fan of Vin Diesel. In "The Pacifier" he proves to
be a deft straight man. Props for Diesel. He is going out on a limb
with his action hero persona, particularly in a hilarious bit with the
"Panda Dance". Diesel is still a commanding physical presence, though
this outing as a kinder, gentler Navy SEAL, Shane Wolfe, may hold
promise for his longevity. He really displays a flair for light comedy.
He has the kind of charm where he is never over shadowed by the cute
kids-- that is no small feat.
Outwardly, Diesel's Navy SEAL Lt. Shane Wolfe is the powerful leader of men, whose team is sent to rescue scientist Howard Plummer (Tate Donovan), from Bosnian terrorists. In the thrilling operation Shane is able to rescue Plummer. However, in an apparent betrayal Plummer is murdered and Shane is left for dead. Shane recovers, and is assigned by his commander Capt. Bill Fawcett (a good Chris Potter) to safe guard the Plummer family. Turns out that Howard Plummer invented a strategic warning system called GHOST. Fawcett and Plummer's widow (the charming and beautiful Faith Ford) are off to Zurich to retrieve the contents of Howard's deposit box. Both the software and hardware for GHOST are missing and their location unknown. Things don't go as planned in Zurich-- really shocking, well not really. So what was supposed to be a weekend of babysitting turns in to an extended assignment for Shane and the Plummer kids.
Shane can run a complex and dangerous operation behind enemy lines in his sleep. Dealing with teenagers, being a Girl Scout Den Mother, and changing a baby's diaper, now that is really tough for this combat veteran SEAL. Zoe (Brittany Snow), the oldest daughter, has boys on her mind, as well as getting her driver's license. Zoe has taken the loss of her father to heart, and puts on the teenage bravado to reassure her siblings. Seth (Max Theriot) ditches wrestling practice, because his passion is theater, and playing a lead in "The Sound of Music". Lulu (Morgan York) is the not so confident Girl Scout, being bullied by some Boy Scouts at the local Costco. York steals the movie. Peter (Kegan and Logan Hoover) is not toilet trained. Tyler (Bo and Luke Vink) is the baby with the digestion issues. These are all good touches.
Predictably Shane (Diesel) reveals his big heart when it comes to the Plummer kids. What is well done is that Shane's demand for discipline is unwaivering in the process. Discipline is like breathing for Shane, but it is tempered by respect, honor, and compassion. No one will be harmed under Shane's watch. The screenplay by Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant provides the atmosphere for this apparent evolution of Shane. Lennon and Garant allow Shane's methods to remain unchanged while he really gets to know what is important to the Plummer kids, and ultimately shares himself. Diesel has a nice scene where he tells Zoe about his father. There is a great comic touch when Shane takes over as Director of "The Sound of Music", seeing how important it is for Seth. When he schools Seth's wrestling coach, Murney (good goofy Brad Garrett) in the art of hand-to-hand combat, it is hilarious. Shane's scenes with Lulu (York) are priceless, and pulls at the harp strings. They are allowed. Ultimately, "The Pacifier" is about family, and making someone part of your family. This may sound corny, and it worked for me.
Shankman has made a surprisingly satisfying and entertaining movie in "The Pacifier". This is one for the whole family. Vin Diesel's venture into a kinder and gentler persona was a risk that paid off. This action star has other gifts. "The Pacifier" is well worth seeing.
It's not rocket science, but who cares. Turn off the brain, and sit down with the kids for a good solid family comedy. Vin Diesel plays a tough guy with a big heart, he just has to find it. In the process he helps to save the world and defeat the bad guys. The children playing the Plummer family work well together, you could believe that they could be a real family (problems and all). Lauren Graham plays the principal of the school and the "love" interest for Vin Diesel very well. Their attraction is "cute" but not overdone. Brad Garrett as the vice-principal provides the off the wall character that is often presented in this script formula. His character was probably one of the main characters that could have been written better, but was passable. Pop the popcorn for a bit of a corny film and have some fun
Vin is in! Navy Seal and all for one military trained animal, Capt.
Shane Wolfe, after a botched assignment, gets reassigned, ---to protect
and keep the Plummer family safe while the living parent takes care of
business for the other parent, who has been killed suddenly.
To a bunch of 'slackers' in the Plummer family, they are about to get a major dose of military styled discipline!! And this they will not soon forget. Five young tyrants and a duck, are being protected by specialist Wolfe. When the objective for the wife is finally acquired, Wolfe is laying down the law with the young ones and along with some defiant behavior, these kids start to realize who is in their best interest. After the baby care lady leaves and the door to the oldest brother's room is kicked down, along with the oldest sister , Zoe attempting to assault Shane and getting sent to her room, not to mention Mr. Plummer's pet duck biting Shane too, they start to come together. Then the news that mom is returning home, just in time for a small double-cross, for the 'Ghost' by the not so 'nice' neighbors. When holding Shane and the cops hostage, he calls Shane the duck whisperer, because he is attempting to whisper secret instructions to the duck. That cracked me up. This was good stuff! Fun, and funny without any trash, family comedy that everyone can enjoy! By the way Brad Garrett is outstanding as the aggressive, insecure and 'menacing', wrestling coach and Vice Principal! What a great casting pick.
Recommended highly, Vin Diesel and company are picture perfect.(****)
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