Cast: Vin Diesel, Lauren Graham, Faith Ford, Brittany Snow, Max Thieriot, Chris Potter, Carol Kane, Brad Garrett, Morgan York, Tate Donovan
Director: Adam Shankman
Rated: PG medium level violence
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Prepare For Bottle
Vin Diesel is a Navy S.E.A.L. who has to become a babysitter in this kid-friendly action comedy. A bungled rescue mission results in the death of a scientist and the hospitalisation of seal team-leader Shane Wolf (Diesel). Once he recovers, he is assigned as a bodyguard for the dead man's family. But even for a seal, dealing with the chaos, smells, noises, and complexities of a fatherless family proves to be a far greater challenge than any seal mission. The children don't like his commanding attitude and they use every opportunity to behave uncooperatively.
Eventually everybody bonds and while the family teaches him to listen and relax, he teaches them the combat skills they need to succeed in suburban Los Angeles. What's more, he still gets the chance to kick some serious bad-guy butt.
In 'The Pacifier', Vin Diesel has decided to take a change in direction from the roles he usually takes as he breaks his mould and sets off on a comedy family movie. Here, as Shane Wolfe, he starts the movie as head of a Navy S.E.A.L team that has to rescue a scientist, Howard Plummer (Tate Donovan), which involves Diesel's usual modus operandi as an action hero, complete with plenty of stunts. After the mission goes awry and Plummer is killed, Wolfe is then assigned to protect Plummer's five children while their mother heads to Switzerland to get to the contents of a safety deposit box that holds a precious cargo - a program designed by Howard Plummer that is of significant importance. Wolfe has to secure the safety of the children which he thinks will be a no-brainer, but for a man with little or no experience dealing with children, he finds himself slowly sinking as a seriously sad fish-out-of-water.
Wolfe is met by the five Plummer children -Zoe, Seth, Lulu, Peter and baby Tyler and their foreign housekeeper cum nanny, Helga (a dreadful Carol Kane) upon his arrival at the Plummer household. The children make it perfectly obvious they don't like him, although they are not overtly horrible, just not happy is has to be around. It soon becomes obvious that in a short time, the two opposing sides will come around to see the other's side and maybe learn a lesson or two along the way, making this a pretty predictable outing.
Vin Diesel, complete with what Lulu describes as his "man boobs", is not quite so aggressive as he usually is, and manages to show a softer, humorous side, even if there are perhaps one too many dirty nappy scenes. He senses the beginning of a relationship with the Principal at the children's school, Claire Fletcher (Lauren Graham), and locks horns with Vice Principal Murney (a great and an absolutely over-the-top Brad Garrett). Wolfe also manages to create a unique mini-relationship with each of the Plummer children, endearing them to him, all for different reasons.
There is nothing new here as the movie moves towards a conventional conclusion, but it is for the most part, entertaining enough even if it doesn't offer any challenges. Certainly a movie that can be seen by all the family, there are plenty of scenes which will feel familiar - most families realistically have a dirty nappy disaster story to tell -but it's not a movie that will sit high in the all-time great comedies. Still, it was fun while it lasted.
Rating : C+