Navy S.E.A.L. Shane Wolfe (Vin Diesel) has a new assignment. The inventor of a sensational new computer program, 'Ghost', has been assassinated; Wolfe has been assigned to protect his young family and find the missing program. But while Wolfe's training has prepared him for any duty, babysitting is off his radar, as he discovers when he meets teen rebel Zoe (Brittany Snow), moody 14 year old Seth (Max Thieriot), 8 year old Lulu (Morgan York), toddler Peter and baby Tyler. The notions of versatility and tough take on new meaning, as Wolfe tries to take control of the household on his terms and in doing so, discovers something about himself.
Review by Louise Keller:
"And they say war is hell," mutters Vin Diesel as an action hero who exchanges dodging bullets for ducking baloney slices. There are a few chuckles in this Kindergarten Cop-style family comedy from Alan Shankman, the director of Bringing Down the House, but it's a little too predictable, formulaic and contrived to have any lasting entertainment value. Diesel plays a Navy S.E.A.L. used to the toughest assignments, but when it comes to diapers and domesticity, he doesn't have a clue. Four kids, a baby and a goose are what Diesel's Wolfe is confronted with, but needless to say, the man with the muscles doesn't rate highly.
The notion of a big, tough guy being tormented to distraction by a bunch of kids is good fun, but there is little that is new and much of the humour is forced. 'Why are your boobs so big?' asks one of the kids; 'will mine be as big as yours one day?' It might have been a good career move for Diesel, who cut his teeth on high-octane action, but the script needs a lift and the direction feels lacklustre. There's certainly enough toilet humour to satisfy the film's young target market, but dirty nappies can only wash so far. Diesel is a likeable hero and the film's main appeal is watching this he-man fall down over mundane situations which most of us are familiar with.
The film's emphasis is not on finding the missing computer program, which is the reason for Wolfe's assignment, but on his relationship with the kids. And of course, he succeeds on all counts. He becomes Zoe's driving instructor, theatre director for Seth's school production of The Sound of Music, Lulu's martial arts mentor and the bed-time pacifier for little Peter, for whom he sings and dances the Peter Panda dance. The song and dance is a stretch, but there is a pay off. The token romance with the school's headmistress Principal Claire Fletcher (Lauren Graham) is rather so-so, but the ongoing conflict with the obnoxious Vice Principal Murney (Brad Garrett), culminating with a wrestling match in front of all the students brings some hearty laughs.
All the ingredients are there, but there's something about the way they've been stirred that makes The Pacifier simply mediocre.
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VIN DIESEL INTERVIEW
PACIFIER, THE (PG)
CAST: Vin Diesel, Lauren Graham, Faith Ford, Brittany Snow, Max Thieriot, Chris Potter, Carol Kane
PRODUCER: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman
DIRECTOR: Adam Shankman
SCRIPT: Thomas Lennon, Ben Garant
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Peter James
EDITOR: Christopher Greenbury
MUSIC: John Debney
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Linda DeScenna
RUNNING TIME: 95 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: BVI
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: Qld, Tas - March 24; NSW, Vic, WA - April 7, 2005