The Pacifier

The Pacifier


Reviewed by: David Stanners

Having avoided the Vin Diesel action dynasty, I was a novice to his talents. Not expecting much, it's refreshingly clear he doesn't expect too much of himself either in the acting department. At least, he knows his own limits.

He plays Lieutenant Shane Wolfe, a disgraced Navy Seal, reassigned after failing to protect a government scientist, killed by Serbian terrorists trying to nick his secret invention "Ghost," a nifty little gadget that can use satellites to control a country's nuclear arsenal. In an attempt to redeem himself, Wolfe is placed in charge of the late scientist's family. While the mother travels to Switzerland to retrieve a safety deposit box that may hold the key to finding "Ghost," Wolfe is left in charge of hormone fuelled teenagers grappling with typical I-hate-you-and-the-world aggressive/defensive attitudes.

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We've seen it all before, with the likes of Uncle Buck, a true comedy done 10 times better, with the reassuringly sublime touches of a maestro (John Candy) at the helm. The formula never really changes. Man comes into house hated by kids, but little by little they warm to his charms and wisdom.

Starting off on the wrong foot with Zoe (Brittany Snow), the eldest girl, whose boyfriend is sniffing around at the wrong time, Wolfe takes more than an earful of teenage estrogen. Similarly, he runs into trouble with Seth (Max Thierot), the eldest boy, who is having trouble adjusting to his father's death and being bullied at school by the stand in principal (Brad Garrett) and wrestling coach. Deciding to teach the bullying 6 ft 8er a lesson, Wolfe chooses a familiar "pick on your own size" lesson, impressing Seth and the school with a round or two of ring behaviour Hulk Hogan would have been proud of.

There are attempted heart felt moments, with a hackneyed sob about how Wolfe's hard nut father shipped him off to boarding school as a youngster. Hoping to turn the tables in his own life, he manages to counter his own tough guy SEAL attitude with that of caring father figure by helping Seth find his calling away from the wrestling ring and into the school play.

The Pacifier is definitely one for the kids. Under 12s should relish bits and pieces of it, but not much more. Diesel does what he's asked, transforming himself into a loveable teddy bear and just about earning his title, The Pacifier. The inert pace picks up after the first hour, but more laughs in a witless script would have made the 95 minutes of intended family fun, more tolerable for mum and dad.

Reviewed on: 27 May 2005
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A Navy Seal is hired to protect a family from their recently deceased father, whose top-secret government experiment remains hidden in their house.
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Director: Adam Shankman

Writer: Thomas Lennon, Ben Garant

Starring: Vin Diesel, Lauren Graham, Faith Ford, Brittany Snow, Max Thierot, Chris Potter, Carol Kane, Brad Garrett, Morgan York, Logan Hoover

Year: 2005

Runtime: 95 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: US


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