a critiQal film review Daddy Day Care (2003)

  • DVD
  • Vudu

Plot: Charlie Hinton (Murphy) has a good paying job, a loving wife (King), and a kid (Griffin). But, when he’s laid off and can't find other work, Charlie and his friend Phil (Garland) come up with the idea of opening a home day care to help pay the bills until they can find “real” jobs. They find out, however, a day care is a little tougher than they figured. But, with the help of their friend Marvin (Zahn), they try to make it work, even competing against a militant day care run by the under-handed Miss Harridan (Huston).

570 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 51s)
  • ...Eddie Murphy actually makes us laugh again in this new kid-friendly film.

As you may know after reading my review of The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002), I, like so many of you, was emotionally scarred by Eddie Murphy, because of the horrendous film Beverly Hills Cop III (1994) years ago.

With a little help from psychiatry sessions, I ventured again into the Eddie Murphy movie database and watched The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002). Luckily for my psyche, it helped to repair the trauma a little bit.

So, with my psychiatrist on speed dial I ventured once more into the world of Eddie Murphy, and rented Daddy Day Care. Would his new film reopen old wounds, or would the healing process continue?

Eddie Murphy, after beating the action genre to death (see above), has decided to go back to his comedic roots. Maybe due to age, or having a kid (?), Eddie has toned down his original blistering comedy and has turned it family friendly. The Nutty Professor was his first foray into this new family guy Eddie persona, so still showed a few of his rough edges (“Buddy Love”). He refined this image more with his next kid-friendly, mother-approved film, Doctor Dolittle. Now, with those 2 successful film series under his belt, Daddy Day Care should’ve been easy for him…and it was. He’s really taken to this new persona, and it’s reflected at the box office.

Some other memorable faces pop up here as well, including Steve Zahn, Regina King, and even Anjelica Huston. They help round out the cast nicely, and each does their part backing up Eddie. Even the child actors, who could’ve ruined the film even with Eddie’s star power team, performed well, and stopped the movie from being Problem Child 3 or something similarly awful.

The plot is definitely family friendly, and manages to involve male and female viewers, as well as their kids. The idea of 2 guys bumbling thru “supposedly easy” child caring is a shoo-in to enticing female viewers, especially mothers. The fact they are able to turn it around and make it work while competing against an under-handed female will probably catch the guys attention. And the antics of the kids, especially during their “bad” phase, will grab the kids’ attention.

The movie easily could’ve failed, but the director managed to make it interesting and enjoyable for the whole family. Daddy Day Care manages to showcase the problems that Charlie and Phil have to deal with, without resorting to gross-out humor for the most part (as many supposedly funny movies these days often do). It’s a nice change of pace in a family-oriented comedy, and the parents may actually be able to sit thru this entire movie without turning it off in disgust.

All in all, Daddy Day Care lives up to the new reputation that Eddie Murphy is building for himself. He’s changed. He’s family-oriented, and he’s actually funny. Will this be able to erase all the scars that us post-Beverly Hills Cop III (1994) survivors are dealing with day-in and day-out? No, but it does let the healing process continue.

Let’s just hope that Eddie doesn’t run this new persona of his into the ground as he did before. …or Beverly Hills Cop 4 may be just around the corner. I hope not (my shrink does, but I think she just wants to keep getting paid).

For now, feel free to check out Daddy Day Care, especially those of you with families of your own.

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