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Bams' review of
Daddy Day Care


Daddy Day Care (2003)
Rated PG-13; running time 91 minutes
Studio: Warner Bros
Genre: Comedy
Seen at: Eastwood Neighborhood Cinema Group (Lansing, Michigan)
Official site:
IMDB site:
Written by: Geoff Rodkey
Directed by: Steve Carr
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Khamani Griffin, Regina King, Steve Zahn, Anjelica Huston, Jimmy Bennett, Felix Achille, Max Burkholder, Shane Baumel, Elle Fanning, Hailey Noelle Johnson, Arthur Young , Cesar Flores

Review Copyright Rose Cooper, 2003

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The first thing you need to know, I reckon, is that Daddy Day Care is not Eddie Murphy's movie. Oh yeah, he's in it alright; but those cute kids saw to it that Murphy was, pretty much, neutralized.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

THE STORY (WARNING: **spoilers contained below**)
Charlie (Eddie Murphy) and Phil (Jeff Garlin) were two advertising execs who had the world on a platter - until they came up with a failed veggie cereal [yuk!] promotion, and were quickly shown the door. Out of work, with no agencies breaking down their door, they could no longer afford the high-falutin' day care for their son Ben (Khamani Griffin) at the exclusive Chapman Academy, run by Mrs. Harridan (Anjelica Huston). When Charlie's wife Kim (Regina King) has to take a job to support her family, Charlie and Phil decide they have to Do Something.

That "something" was opening up Daddy Day lukewarm response at first. But eventually, their unorthodox, male-run day care became successful, attracting kids like, The Flash (Jimmy Bennett), who refuses to take off his superhero costume; Dylan (Felix Achille), who has to be bribed to come to day care; Crispin (Shane Baumel), Future Gangbanger; Nicky (Arthur Young), who speaks in a language only day care add-on Marvin (Steve Zahn) understands; Phil's kid Max (Max Burkholder), who has serious Bathroom Issues; and Charlie's kid Ben, who is sad because Charlie basically ignores him.

Charlie and Phil's new-found success is not ignored by Mrs. Harridan, whose Academy is seriously affected by all the parents leaving to enroll their kids in Daddy Day Care. Uh oh, looks like Wackiness will Ensue...

If you couldn't guess, I'm no Eddie Murphy fan; at least, not the older, worn-out Eddie Murphy. The last Murphy movie I saw and liked unconditionally was Boomerang, I believe [checks the IMDB quickly. Yep, that's the last one]. Murphy has pretty much been neutered, comically, for years now; gone is the brilliance he showed in "classics" like Trading Places and 48 Hrs; to be replaced with garbage like The Adventures Of Pluto Nash. [owww; it physically hurt me to type that title again]. Most of the silly junk (Dr. Doolittles) and "raunchy" comedy (Nutty Professors) he specializes in lately, simply leaves me cold. But with Daddy Day Care, his sins-of-comedic-omission are mostly forgiven; mostly, because he's not in the spotlight here.

That said, Murphy did acquit himself nicely as the Daddy in Daddy. You wouldn't know it from the stunts he (and Steve Zahn) pulled off, but this was a more mature - and more to the point of the movie, more fatherly - Eddie Murphy. Not so Bold 'n Brash, more calm and laid back; humorous, not big f Funny. Hell, I'd take that over Pluto [owww], any day.

In Daddy Day Care, the sidekicks ruled the roost, starting with the adorable Khamani Griffin as Ben, Charlie's poor rejected kidlet. He was imminently charming, sweet, and cute, but not at all bratty. Man, I'm a sucker for imminently charming, sweet, and cute, but not at all bratty movie kids. I loved the age group that they picked in casting these kids, none of whom made me want to break out my special belt. Jimmy Bennett (The Flash), Felix Achille (Dylan), Max Burkholder (Max), and even Crispin, Bad Seed (played by Shane Baumel), were at least likeable, and oftentimes, funny.

As for the adults, Jeff Garlin was an unknown quantity to me, but he held his own nicely against Murphy, never getting lost in Eddie's shadow. Steve Zahn came on a bit too strong; he was ok here, though at times, he needed to leash that Zany thing he sometimes does. Regina King continues to be given parts with Nothing To Do, bless her heart; but to be fair, she would've had to do something really spectacular to compete against the Daddy kids. But the character that should've been kicked to the curb was Mrs. Harridan, played by Anjelica Huston. I cringed at e-a-c-h a-n-d e-v-e-r-y syllable that came out of Huston's mouth. I longed for the Huston that thrilled me in Prizzi's Honor. O, how the mighty have fallen.

All in all, Daddy Day Care was a harmless-fun movie that probably will lose its luster as the Big Bad Boys Of Summer roll into movie theaters. If Big Action Flicks are your bag, Daddy Day Care is probably not your Daddy; but if you don't mind oooahhing at cute kids and chuckling at funny sitcommy situations for 91 minutes or so, you could do worse than this movie.

I'm still not crazy about Safe Eddie Murphy, but I liked him well enough in Daddy, and I fell in love with most of the kids. And okay, so it wasn't bust-a-gut funny, but that suited me just fine.


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And that's the way I see it.

Rose "Bams" Cooper
3BlackChicks Review™
Copyright Rose Cooper, 2003
EMAIL:    ICQ: 7760005

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More 3BlackChicks™ review(s) for this week:
(movies reviewed through 5/9/03):

Bams' reviews:
Daddy Day Care | A Mighty Wind

Cass' reviews:

The Diva's reviews:
Daddy Day Care

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