Charlie (Eddie Murphy) is fired from his job at an advertising agency after a focus group for Veggie-O’s cereal goes bust. Unemployed and out-of-touch with what today’s preschoolers want to put in their mouths, Charlie must now find affordable day care for his young son Ben (the cute but timid Khamani Griffin, whose trashier dialogue must have been dubbed by a nastier tot). The filmmakers offer Charlie only the shrillest options imaginable: a cat lady running an operation out of her trailer park; a gypsy who keeps her kids in the basement; and, most humorous, an establishment so normal its only a matter of time before the cops show up. Gender equality is quickly negotiated and Charlie and his best bud Phil (Jeff Garlin) start Daddy Day Care, a male-owned and operated environment that looks to bridge (subconsciously, of course) that oh-so-funny rift between diaper-phobic daddies and rambunctious children. The good news is that the kids are genuinely funny (top prize goes to the one who needs a dollar bill in order to shut up). But while the film is charmingly economical, its surprising lack of vulgarity makes for an overall boring sit. Steve Zahn does wonders with a nothing part but poor Anjelica Huston—bless her little heart—brings embarrassing conviction to the role of stuffy day care proprietress Miss Gwyneth Harridan. Daddy Day Care seems to exist solely to sedate a theater-going public’s offspring. And while the film’s sense of sobriety should do the job, don’t expect The Witches.
- Steve Carr
- Geoff Rodkey
- Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Anjelica Huston, Steve Zahn, Regina King, Kevin Nealon, Lacey Chabert, Jimmy Bennett, Shane Baumel, Cesar Flores, Elle Fanning, Hailey Johnson, Felix Achille, Khamani Griffin, Max Burkholder, Arthur Young
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