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The Pacifier
2005 - PG - 96 Mins.
Director: Adam Shankman
Producer: Gary Barber
Written By: Thomas Lennon, Scott Alexander, Robert Ben Garant
Starring: Vin Diesel, Faith Ford, Brad Garrett, Brittany Snow
Review by: Joe Rickey
Official Site: disney.go.com/disneypictures/pacifier/
   

His career in a few more years
96 minutes might not seem like a very long time, but watching the film ‘The Pacifier’ seems like an absolute eternity.

Vin Diesel should never be allowed near a children’s film ever again because if he is, as difficult as it may be to believe, another such film might be even worse. The plot of this film concerns Navy SEAL Shane Wolf (Diesel) who is given a new assignment quite a bit different than any he had undertaken before: he is to protect the five children of an assassinated scientist. Little does he know that this task involves (gasp!) changing diapers, grocery shopping, dealing with bullies, and keeping tabs on the five little rascals at all times. Many feeble attempts at “family” comedy hijinks ensue.

The main problem with ‘The Pacifier’ as a whole is the fact that we have seen it all before in such films as ‘Mr. Mom’, ‘Suburban Commando’, ‘Three Men and a Baby’, and ‘Kindergarten Cop.’ Raise your hand if any of the following sound familiar: An expression of disgust at changing diapers, the inability to deal with the kids who express animosity toward the protagonist before completely changing their tune in time for the obligatory “heartwarming” finale. Director Adam Shankman, who last helmed the equally atrocious ‘Bringing Down the House’ with Steve Martin and Queen Latifah, films and paces the film as if he is doing the film while being held at gunpoint. Failing that, he does the film only to fulfill a contractual obligation. He films the proceedings as if he is making a television pilot. In other words, the film has an incessantly bland look to it and the action sequences that make up a small portion of the film are haphazardly filmed and edited. Shankman’s resume, which also includes ‘A Walk to Remember’, does not convey confidence on the part of the viewer at directing anything near a convincing action sequence. Of course, he is not aided by a cast that is clearly phoning their performances in.

In the lead role, Vin Diesel is out of his element interacting with children and it shows in a painfully unfunny fashion. His baritone line delivery is even more stilted and otherwise cardboard-like than usual. If you are cognizant with his normal acting style, you know how dull his performance is here if it is even worse than typical. The rest of the cast, including Brad Garrett from the television sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond” and Faith Ford (another TV series ‘Hope and Faith’) are not quite as bad as the star but that may be because they are much more used to doing comedy.

In the end though, ‘The Pacifier’ is a consistently floundering attempt at family entertainment and not worth one second of a discerning viewer’s time.
 
Movie Guru Rating
A train wreck.  So bad some may find it unintentionally entertaining.
  1 out of 5 stars

 
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