by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: *** (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)
Vin Diesel as SHANE WOLFE
Lauren Graham as CLAIRE FLETCHER
Faith Ford as JULIE PLUMMER
Brittany Snow as ZOE
Max Thieriot as SETH
Chris Potter as CAPT. BILL FAWCETT
Carol Kane as HELGA
Brad Garrett as VICE PRINCIPAL MURNEY
Studio: Walt Disney
Directed by: Adam Shankman
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It seems that every action star gets tired of the action movies and wants to broaden his base. It happened with Schwarzenegger. It happened with Stallone. It even happened with Eddie Murphy (although the most action he was seeing was in the back seat of cars with transvestite prostitutes). Now, Vin Diesel has taken a crack at the family movie front.
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A lot of mud has been slung at Diesel, and “The Pacifier” has been classified as his “Kindergarten Cop.” To a degree, these critics are correct. However, no one is going to be fooled into seeing “The Pacifier” if they’re looking for another “Fast and the Furious” or “XXX.”
I commend Diesel for taking this step. It’s not a bad career move, since he has such a pleasant behind-the-scenes persona. He’s pushing 40, and he’s not going to be the young action hero for much longer. Despite his bad-ass image, he’s really just a teddy bear. Plus, he’s not a bad actor. People forget that his short film “Multi-Facial” is what brought him to the attention of Steven Speilberg in the first place. I guess the next step for Diesel would be to move completely out of the action hero role and into something even more mainstream.
“The Pacifier” is a nice, safe family film. It’s nothing spectacular, but at least it’s a decent film to watch with the kids. It is exactly what you would expect from the previews. If they seem too saccharine sweet for you, then stay away from this film. However, this movie targets and audience and doesn’t deviate from the plan.
Diesel plays Navy S.E.A.L. Shane Wolfe, who is assigned to protect the family of a slain government official. The only problem is the family has a house of out-of-control kids, and Wolfe is unprepared to wrangle kids. However, by working with the kids and adapting to their uncontrollable nature, Wolfe manages to bond with them.
Some parts get a little silly, like when Wolfe takes over as the director of “The Sound of Music” at a local community theater to help support one of the kid’s dreams. Fortunately, these little distractions don’t take too much time or energy from the film.
Some wacky supporting characters pad out the film, namely Brad Garrett as the psychotic wrestling coach and vice principal. Garrett manages to steal most of his scenes from Diesel, who does manage to hold his own as a straight man.
The DVD comes with a set of bloopers and several deleted scenes. There are also two “On the Set” documentaries, one featuring Diesel and the other featuring Brad Garrett. The special features are rounded out with a director commentary track and a series of television commercials made exclusively for the film.
Director Adam Shankman comes off of his edgier but still funny comedy “Bringing Down the House” for this film. There are no pot jokes like you saw in “Bringing Down the House,” but the film has the same sensibilities that aims for a wide audience and manages to reach most of it. Sure, most art-house critics are going to wince at this film, but that was never the audience this was intended for.
Specifications: Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound. DTS 5.1 Surround. Widescreen (2.35:1). French and Spanish language tracks. Spanish subtitles. English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.