Daddy Day Care

"OK"

Daddy Day Care Review


There's a delightful surprise before the opening credits of "Daddy Day Care" -- a very funny CGI-animated short about tadpoles and peer pressure called "Late Bloomers."

The movie itself doesn't demonstrate half the creativity crammed into that four-minute cartoon. But it's not bad either.

Eddie Murphy stars as a workaholic ad exec sacked from his job (for promoting a kids' cereal called Veggie-Os) and saddled with taking care of his 4-year-old son (cute, uncommonly sad-eyed wisecracker Khamani Griffin) while his wife (Regina Hall) becomes the breadwinner, going back to work as a lawyer. But apparently she's a woefully underpaid lawyer because to make ends meet, Murphy turns their home into a day care center and enlists a couple laid-off buddies (pratfalling heavyweight Jeff Garlin and scatty sci-fi geek Steve Zahn) to help.

Being Fictitious Movie Males, they're largely inept at child rearing and thus are soon in way, way over their heads. But writer Geoff Rodkey and director Steve Carr (who shot Murphy's "Dr. Dolittle 2") manage to comedically freshen up what is essentially 1983's "Mr. Mom," multiplied by a dozen extra kids.

A lot of the humor comes, of course, from the children getting the best of Murphy and Garlin (while Zahn seems to operate more on their level). Living rooms are wrecked, shins are kicked -- and the fact that the actors are so clearly game for the worst of it blesses the flick with laugh-getting reaction shots that go a long way toward entertaining both kids and adults. A particularly disastrous potty-training misfire is sold entirely on Murphy's incredible facial contortions of horror as he peers fearfully into the bathroom, then down at the floor, then up at the ceiling.

Hyperactivity abounds, of course. A predictable lesson about priorities finds Murphy learning to give his own kid equal time. There are too many montage sequences set to peppy, overused pop songs like "Walkin' On Sunshine" and "ABC" (although the choice of The Ramones' "I Wanna Be Sedated" when the kids explode on a sugar high is amusingly apropos).

But Murphy and Zahn score a lot of laughs with their mugging, the child performers are well-cast (not an over-actor in the bunch), most of them with distinct personalities (instead of being generic, cue-card-quality cherubs like, say, the kids playing elves in "The Santa Clause 2"), and director Carr isn't afraid of aiming some of the comedy over kids' heads.

An uncredited Jonathan Katz (from Comedy Central's cartoon "Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist") steals a scene or two as an I-dotting, T-crossing nebbish safety compliance inspector who at one point is tricked into putting on a puppet show for the kids that turns into a hilarious therapy session as the puppets act out his messy divorce.

Where "Daddy Day Care" falters is in a few awkwardly mechanical, our-script's-too-short contrivances -- most notably the subplot involving the snooty headmistress (Anjelica Huston) of a upscale rival day-care "academy" (where preschoolers learn Latin, Tai Chi and SAT preparation) who tries repeatedly to sabotage our heroes because she's losing students to them.

Such shortcomings drag the film down quite a bit, but "Daddy Day Care" is still entirely enjoyable as Saturday matinee family fare.



Daddy Day Care

Facts and Figures

Run time: 92 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th May 2003

Box Office USA: $104.1M

Box Office Worldwide: $164.4M

Budget: $60M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures

Production compaines: Revolution Studios, Davis Entertainment, TriStar Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 28%
Fresh: 35 Rotten: 92

IMDB: 5.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Charlie Hinton, as Phil, as Marvin, as Kim Hinton, as Bruce, as Peggy, as Jenny, as Dan Kubitz, as Crispin's Mom, as Sheila, as Kelli, as Mrs. Gwyneth Harridan, Khamani Griffin as Ben Hinton, as Max, Arthur Young as Nicky, as Cheap Trick, Damani Roberts as German Speaking Boy

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

John Wick: Chapter 2 Movie Review

Keanu Reeves picks up his supremely efficient hitman immediately where the 2015 original left him:...

Fences Movie Review

Fences Movie Review

After winning Tony Awards on Broadway, Denzel Washington and Viola Davis reteam for a film...

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

The Lego Batman Movie Movie Review

A spin-off from 2014's awesome The Lego Movie, this raucously paced action-comedy is proof that...

The Space Between Us Movie Review

The Space Between Us Movie Review

While the premise of this movie makes it look like a sci-fi adventure, the truth...

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

Toni Erdmann Movie Review

On paper, the idea of a two-hour 40-minute German comedy may not seem very promising,...

Advertisement
Gold Movie Review

Gold Movie Review

Based on a true story, this lively and sometimes outrageous adventure is packed with twists...

Loving Movie Review

Loving Movie Review

While this film tackles a huge issue in the history of race relations in America,...

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

T2 Trainspotting Movie Review

It's been 20 years since we last saw four freewheeling young junkies from Edinburgh spiral...

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Hacksaw Ridge Movie Review

Based on an astounding true story, this battlefield drama mixes warm emotion with intense action...

Sing Movie Review

Sing Movie Review

The quality of the animation in this musical comedy may not be up to Pixar...

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.