The Pacifier


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"...a few female fans at the screening were very pleased when he took his shirt off for a shower scene.  They managed to work that into a kids' movie.  Nice job, Disney!."










The Pacifier
The Masked Reviewer

Well, they sure don't make it easy on film reviewers, do they?  It's bad enough having Vin Diesel star in anything, much less a family film from Disney. 

Let's start with the title.  The Pacifier.  The dictionary defines a pacifier as "a rubber or plastic nipple designed for a baby to suck or bite on."  Technically, if this film was designed to suck, it succeeds wholeheartedly!  If the purpose of this film is to bite (and bite hard), mission accomplished! 

There's nothing passive about The Pacifier.  It sucks hard.  Okay, okay, perhaps the Masked Reviewer is being a bit too harsh.  It's really not all that bad.  It has a few bright spots, and in fact it is better than you might expect from the previews.  But...why would anyone go to see this film?  Is this something a kid would want to see?  Do kids have any idea who Vin Diesel is?  The only movies that he's done that haven't been rated R (as far as the Masked Reviewer knows) are XXX and The Iron Giant.  Sure, the latter was a kids' movie.  Vin Diesel was the voice of the Iron Giant.  But, they can't be begging to see this, can they?  XXX was rated PG-13, and what self-respecting teenager would want to see The Pacifier?

It's a tough question, to be sure.  It's kind of a mix of Home Alone and Cheaper by the Dozen and Mr. Mom and about a million other goofy kids' movies where a strict and serious person is put in a situation with some crazy kids.  The kids get better and the nanny/teacher loosens up and they all love each other.  Not to give anything away, but this type of movie goes beyond predictable and formulaic into absolutely by-the-book.

Vin Diesel plays a Navy SEAL.  We see how tough he is in the opening segment.  See, he's disciplined, serious, and hardcore.  What assignment could he possibly get that he couldn't handle?  That's right...babysitting a bunch of kids! 

Here's the first problem.  Vin Diesel isn't a good actor.  The Masked Reviewer doesn't want to be the one to break it to you, but he has all the depth and emotional range of...well...let's skip the analogies and just say that he doesn't have any depth or emotional range whatsoever.  He's not convincing in any scene he's in.  It's embarrassing to watch.  He's not funny.  He's not tough.  He doesn't generate any sympathy.  Although, a few female fans at the screening were very pleased when he took his shirt off for a shower scene.  They managed to work that into a kids' movie.  Nice job, Disney!

Then, there are the kids.  There's an older girl, an older boy, a younger girl, a toddler boy, and a baby.  They have their own foibles and problems, but none of them are particularly well-defined.  The younger girl is the best of the bunch, but everything is about Vin Diesel, and the kids are unable to fulfill the Herculean task of making Vin Diesel entertaining or funny.

But don't worry!  Everything isn't that bad.  Brad Garrett ("Everybody Loves Raymond") plays a Vice Principal, and he steals the show.  He adds some of the only laughs in the movie.  Lauren Graham plays another school official, and while she doesn't add much, she does have a charm and softness that helps counterbalance the sucking/biting machine that is Vin Diesel (and he doesn't suck/bite in the good way).

One fight scene is somewhat reminiscent of Jackie Chan, though infinitely less impressive, but better than some of the standard fare you see in a lot of action movies.  There are also a couple of decent laughs towards the end of the film; hardly worth the price of admission, but better than nothing.  There's a trained duck, too, that was trained for one comic bit and then kind of hangs around for the rest of the movie.

Vin Diesel does a little silly dance.  It's important later in the movie.  That should tell you something.

The bottom line is that there's really no reason for anyone to see this.  There are other movies out there.  However, it's not nearly as bad as you might expect...but you should expect one of the worst movies ever.  It's not, but it's still a bad movie.  Imagine going to the dentist for a four hour procedure, and walking out and saying "Hey, that wasn't as bad as I thought!"  That's The Pacifier; you won't be pleasantly surprised, you'll just be surprised that it sucked less than you thought -- but still sucked.


Expectation from the Title: Something involving fake nipples (with any luck).

Mother's Rule (Always Say Something Good About Everything):  Vin Diesel didn't try too hard to be funny.

The Pros: A couple of funny moments, mostly provided by Brad Garrett

The Cons: You can imagine the cons.  Vin Diesel is a Navy SEAL assigned to take care of some kids.  It's what you'd expect.

Looking for Vin Disel or Vin Desel or the Pasifier or Brad Garett or Vin Deisel?  Read on!

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