Prepare for bottle.
Running Time: 91 minutes
US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG
Country: Canada, United States
With just one month falling between the release of this and xXx: State of the Union, you could say The Pacifier represents something of a crossroads for Vin Diesel. Originally, he was due to reprise his role as Xander Cage, xXxs grunting snowboarder-turned-secret agent in the upcoming mediocre-looking sequel. Instead though, here he is in this one, playing a Navy SEAL whos assigned to look after a family-load of kiddywinks in a mild, family-friendly Disney romp. Personally, I cant help but feel that hes made the right decision.
So far, Diesels career as a leading man has seen him move from one clunking, forgettable actioner to the next, building up a reasonable fanbase along the way but always looking in serious danger of ending up stuck in a rut. The Pacifier might not exactly be the biggest cinematic triumph of the year (and its fair to say you wont find anyone accusing it of being even remotely original), but at last its a chance for the V-Man to show that hes willing to have a bit of fun with his image, and quite possibly make himself considerably more accessible in the process. Its a clever move, and even speaking as someone whos had a fair few digs at His Baldness expense in the past, I cant help hoping it pays-off. After all, as anyone who remembers Kindergarten Cop knows, it worked for Arnold Schwarzenegger.
As the muscle-bound (natch) Shane Wolf, the Vinster has to protect the ankle-biters of a murdered security expert. Some baddies are after a top secret computer proggy which they believe to be hidden in the family home, so its up to our Shane to turn part-babysitter part-bodyguard and he does it all armed with little more than some nappies, a live duck, and his pedestrian wit. Oh, okay, so hes probably got a gun as well, though I cant actually remember seeing him use it around the young uns.
If youve seen anything along the lines of Mr Nanny, Uncle Buck, Daddy Day Care or the afore-mentioned Arnie project, then youll pretty much know how the whole thing goes but I have to say I found this much more enjoyable than I was expecting. In amongst all the clichés, there are some genuinely warm and funny moments, and theres also a great turn from Everybody Loves Raymonds Brad Garrett as the sprogs slightly over-zealous vice principal. Kids who, lets not forget, are the target audience here should find it an entertaining hour-and-a-half, and parents if theyre anything like me may well be pleasantly surprised.
It's Got: A duck called Gary. Good name.
It Needs: To be given a chance if your kiddies want to see it. Theres much, much worse out there.
Alternatives:Daddy Day Care, Kindergarten Cop, Mr Nanny, Uncle Buck
Not the greatest family comedy ever, but it should be just about entertaining enough to keep your little uns pacified for a while.