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
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!