Two men, Charlie Hinton (Eddie Murphy) and Phil Ryerson (Jeff Garlin), get laid off and have to become stay-at-home dads when they can't find jobs. This inspires them to open their own day-care center.
In this movie, two fathers, Charlie Hinton (Eddie Murphy) and Phil Ryerson (Jeff Garlin), lose their jobs in product development at a large food company and are forced to take their sons out of the exclusive Chapman Academy and become stay-at-home fathers. With no job possibilities on the horizon, the two dads open their own day care facility, "Daddy Day Care", and employ some fairly unconventional and sidesplitting methods of caring for children. As "Daddy Day Care" starts to catch on, it launches them into a highly comedic rivalry with Chapman Academy's tough-as-nails director, Mrs. Gwyneth Harridan (Anjelica Huston), who has driven all previous competitors out of business.Written by
Sony Pictures Publicity
Caught this today on DVD with a buddy's grand-kids, and was pleasantly surprised. I have given it 9 out of 10, not for pure artistic merit, but as a funny 'family-film'. Certainly, the current rating here at IMDb is pessimistic. There are only 2 or 3 decent films of this sort produced annually in Hollywood, the rest being utter trash.
Eddie Murphy plays a more subdued role than we might expect as a high-powered 'player' in the ad game, with little time for his family. A sudden change finds him desperate for work or an enterprise, in a plot ploy reminiscent of Michael Keaton's "Mr. Mom". The unfolding action finds Eddie scrambling to operate a day care facility with frenetic partners Jeff Garlin and, later, Steve Zahn. Murphy allows that duo to handle the slapstick end of things. He remains the thinker and the one who calms the waves of lunacy, allowing the plot to move forward to the next challenge facing our heroes.
The satirical side of this story is shown by examining the competing (snotty) daycare center of the always-delightful Angelica Huston, reprising her 'vampy villainess' role of "Ever After". She runs a sophisticated academy for toddlers that Fraser and Niles Crane might envy (but it really needs to be taken down a peg or two).
Refreshing, too, is the portrayal of the daycare inspector unleashed on Eddie by Huston. Instead of the typical clichéd grump who threatens and hollers, we get a tender, supportive fella who really wants the boys to succeed (we find out why at the end - watch the puppet show carefully!).
Garlin is the closest thing I've seen to a replacement for our departed and dear John Candy, a slightly over-sized actor who can combine tenderness with slapstick! Zahn was an unusual sidekick fit as 'Giordino' to McConaughey's 'Dirk Pitt' in "Sahara", and, here as a hapless Trekkie, impresses with his comedic timing.
Other notables pop up in supporting roles, and the kids are terrific. Enjoy!
Final word to other actors of (former) glory: check your ego at the door, share the limelight with a great supporting cast and find a real script with likable or compelling characters. in no particular order.
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