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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12%
Worth A Look: 6%
Average: 10%
Pretty Bad: 22%
Total Crap50%

4 reviews, 26 user ratings

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Pacifier, The
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by EricDSnider

"Goodbye, Vin Diesel. It's been fun, but we don't need you anymore."
1 stars

The first baby puke in "The Pacifier" occurs within 10 minutes. Poop and pee follow shortly -- this film wallows in poop and pee -- and it is not long before we have run the gamut of juvenile things normally associated with PG-rated "family" comedies.

All except for one. Somehow, the film overlooks the essential "guy getting hit in the groin" moment for more than 80 minutes! Everything is winding down, and you're thinking it will end without any crotch-shots -- but then, at the last minute, a bad guy gets nailed right where it counts. And it's a good thing, too! If the groin injury had been left out altogether, Walt Disney Pictures would have lost its license to practice crappy film producing!

"The Pacifier" marks Vin Diesel's official descent into oblivion. It is his "Kindergarten Cop," his "Mr. Nanny" -- except that those films were made by muscular stars (Arnold Schwarzenegger and Hulk Hogan, of course) who had enjoyed action-hero status for many years prior. Diesel's only been on the scene for four years. Already he's resorting to this?

He plays Shane Wolfe, a Navy S.E.A.L. who considers himself responsible for the death of a government scientist. (He is right to consider himself responsible, by the way, because it was his fault. I'm just sayin'.) The scientist had been working on some kind of weapon or project or device or something, and the government thinks he has left it in a safety deposit box in Switzerland. So they escort his wife (Faith Ford) to Zurich and leave Wolfe behind to protect her five children, who may be at risk of attack by whoever killed their dad.

It sounds hilarious so far, doesn't it? Murdered scientist, bereaved widow, children in danger -- what's not to love? If only it had Nazis...!

Wolfe treats his governance of the children -- teenagers Zoe (Brittany Snow) and Seth (Max Thieriot), younger Lulu (Morgan York), toddler Peter (Keegan and Logan Hoover) and baby Tyler (Bo and Luke Vink -- my goodness, someone named their twins after the Duke boys!) -- like a military operation, and therein lies the "joke," for want of a better word. He loads up his tool belt not with grenades or guns but with juice boxes and bottles. He gives the children code names and wakes them up at 6 a.m. It's all run like a special top-secret mission. Get it?

I just saw a movie like this a week ago, "Man of the House," starring Tommy Lee Jones as a Texas Ranger who moves into a house belonging to five college cheerleaders so he can protect them from assassins. The reason that movie worked even as minimally as it did is that Tommy Lee Jones is a serious actor. He knew that playing the role as straight as possible would make it the most effective, as it would provide contrast to the silliness of the situation. Juxtaposition is, after all, very often at the root of comedy.

Diesel should have done the same thing for "The Pacifier." He ought to have been as tough and serious as he is in his action films. But instead, though he does tough and serious things, he does them winkingly, with the apparent attitude that since the movie is a comedy, he ought to be silly about it. This is wrong, and if the director were someone who knew how to direct comedy, he would have corrected him. But instead, the director is Adam Shankman, giver of such mediocrity as "The Wedding Planner," "A Walk to Remember" and "Bringing Down the House."

As expected, Wolfe slowly bonds with the children. He teaches Lulu and her Girl Scout troop (only they're not called "Girl Scouts") self-defense for when the Boy Scout troop (only they're not called "Boy Scouts") harasses them. He sings little Peter his special bedtime song every night. He even steps in to direct Seth's community theater play when the director drops out, figuring his experience with commanding intricate search-and-rescue missions is the same thing as choreographing dance routines. (What's amazing is that he turns out to be right.) In fact, the play is "The Sound of Music," which means there ARE Nazis in this movie.

But you're wondering why he has so much time to live with the children when their mother only had to go to Zurich long enough to retrieve the safety deposit box. Well, it turns out she doesn't know the password, so she must sit there and guess it. She does this for two weeks, apparently going to the bank every morning at 8 and guessing passwords until 5. Whether she breaks for lunch or not, the movie does not say.

The movie gets dumber as it goes, becoming both preposterous and predictable, with every box checked on the list of clichés. Does the hero have a catchphrase? Check. ("We do it my way -- there is no highway option.") Does he have an obligatory romance with a tertiary character? Check. Does he put his hand in a dirty diaper? Check. (What a dirty diaper is doing lying open on the kitchen counter is anyone's guess.)

In the end, he tells young Lulu, who has sort of a crush on him, "You're the best friend I've ever had." This is both creepy and sad.

The real tragedy here is that Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant, who are brilliant on Comedy Central's semi-improvised "Reno 911," wrote this useless screenplay. They wrote "Taxi," too, that miserable Jimmy Fallon/Queen Latifah comedy from last year. The subject of how two men can be so funny as improvisational actors yet so lousy as screenwriters is worthy of an essay. Maybe another time. Right now I need to lie down.

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originally posted: 03/09/05 18:33:50
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User Comments

4/09/09 Chris F A typical appalling attempt to act by vin diesel 1 stars
1/14/09 Rosemary Reid Enjoyed it 5 stars
3/11/08 Nicole u all suck 5 stars
5/20/07 William Goss Enjoy quality? Well, that's just too bad... 1 stars
6/27/06 Kimberly My seven year old son loved this movie and has watched it many times!! 4 stars
5/16/06 bmac more vin diseal trash 1 stars
11/24/05 Ash wicked totally wicked 5 stars
11/23/05 kate funny,nice moive 5 stars
10/26/05 Frank Rountree Well, you could watch it with your family, other than that, not very good. 3 stars
9/21/05 Halee This was the stupidest movie I have ever seen... Don't watch it... it isn't worth it. 1 stars
8/12/05 Bad Critic Sorta lame, but had it's laughs for PG . Vin stupid to take part, ruins his image after XXX 2 stars
7/04/05 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne Not TOO bad for another GIRLS DON'T FART movie! VD better than usual! 3 stars
6/30/05 LaCole Mercer it was the most amazing movie ever and funny as well 5 stars
6/15/05 Quigley vin diesel, why have you lowered yourself to such crap?! don't see it. at all. 1 stars
5/12/05 M Diesel in shower scene worth my ticket!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
4/06/05 P it is not too bad. Very funny and relaxing 4 stars
3/25/05 malcontent First Ice Cube goes kiddie, now Diesel? 2 stars
3/16/05 Andrea better than everyone said it would be 3 stars
3/14/05 KingNeutron Hey, it took guts to do that panda dance. And Lauren Graham is reason enough, too. 4 stars
3/08/05 James Kiang Nothing very original, but still a passable family film. 3 stars
3/08/05 whatevr Vin Diesel and Disney: a recipe for disaster 2 stars
3/06/05 Craig Gunnels Waste of time! 2 stars
3/06/05 Susan Sunderland Kids loved it,picks up more in the middle, could be worse, watchable 3 stars
3/05/05 Kristina Williams And I thought Be Cool was bad 2 stars
3/05/05 Will It's all been done before, and done better 1 stars
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  04-Mar-2005 (PG)
  DVD: 28-Jun-2005



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