Daddy Day Care

Daddy Day Care


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Eddie Murphy used to be cool. Seems incredible now. As a black man playing white roles, he has traded Richard Pryor's mantle for Tim Allen's bed socks. If you cared, it would be sad.

Contrary to popular belief, kids are good box-office, which is why every Hollywood light comedy has one. Almost without exception, they are irritating. Daddy Day Care has a tribe, which is small enough to forget, but cute enough not to miss. The jokes are either poo orientated, or in the silly grown-ups section.

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When Arnie played the Kindergarten Cop in 1990, he took a big risk. Here was an action hero being made to look ridiculous by little children and it worked. One of the reasons why Daddy Day Care fails is because it is so predictable, so unthreatening and so bland. It's like an extension of Dr Dolittle 2, with kids for animals. Murphy walks through it with a smile on his face, accompanied by Jeff Garlin, in what used to be John Goodman's role - the fat sidekick. Only goofball-for-hire Steve Zahn, doing his trainspotter's guide to the mentally challenged, creates a modicum of humour.

Charlie (Murphy) and Phil (Garlin) lose their jobs at an advertising agency and after hanging around at home with nothing to do but entertain their kids, decide to attempt a similar thing professionally and look after other people's pre-school brats in Charlie's opulent suburban home. Marvin (Zahn), who was an office boy at the agency, is brought in later when pupil numbers increase. His specialist subjects are Star Wars and the cult of the comic book.

Is that Anjelica Huston reprieving her role in The Witches? Er, yes, except she's headmistress of a snobby school for boys and girls down the road, where the fees are an insult and the uniforms spotless.

Essential to this kind of easy-watching pap is the message: take time out from work, dad, to be with your kids; sugary cereals and candy bars makes them hyper; listen to children, don't lecture them; have fun, not rules.


Reviewed on: 10 Jul 2003
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Daddy Day Care packshot
Eddie Murphy opens a day centre for pre-school kids in an opulent suburb of Los Angeles.
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Director: Steve Carr

Writer: Geoff Rodkey

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Steve Zahn, Regina King, Kevin Nealon, Jonathan Katz

Year: 2003

Runtime: 92 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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