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Daddy Day Care (2003)

Whos your daddy?

Rating: 3/10

Running Time: 92 minutes

UK Certificate: PG

It’s not often I sit in the cinema wishing I had a cushion handy to hide behind, but ‘Daddy Day Care’ succeeded where countless horror movies have failed and gave me just that urge.

Don’t worry parents – it’s not that there’s anything remotely scary about this PG-rated kiddy-flick. It’s just that watching Eddie Murphy’s career nosedive in such spectacular fashion is becoming seriously painful, particularly for anyone still with even the slightest fondness for the likes of ‘Trading Places’, ‘Coming to America’ or ‘Beverly Hills Cop’. I ask you, would the Murphster of old appear in a movie with a Katrina and the Waves soundtrack? Exactly.

Murphy reunites with ‘Dr Dolittle 2’ director Steve Carr to play Charlie Hinton, an ad exec who ends up on the dole queue after working on a doomed-to-failure veggie-flavoured breakfast cereal. So, along with fellow job-hunter Phil (Jeff Garlin), he sets up ‘Daddy Day Care’. In other words, a day care centre run by daddies. Anjelica Houston is the head of a rival nursery (which, incidentally, has a distinct Hitler Youth vibe about it) who tries to have them shut down with the grudging assistance of the pretty Lacey Chabert – and that’s about it.

Murphy, much like everyone else around him, seems wholly unenthused by the over-use of lacklustre slapstick (I lost count of how many times I was expected to find it funny when one of the toe-surfers kicks an adult male in the shins or – even worse – a bit further up), and it’s apparent that very little effort has been put into making the plot work.

It’s aimed squarely at kiddy-winks, but the plethora of them surrounding me in the cinema didn’t seem particularly taken by it either. Besides, in these post-‘Toy Story‘ days I firmly expect a kids’ film to be capable of appealing to the adults in the audience as well. Anything else is pure laziness on the writer’s part.

It's Got: Loads of screaming kids, no doubt up to their bulgy little eyeballs on Sunny D.

It Needs: For someone to explain why all of the moms bringing their kids to Daddy Day Care are well-kempt attractive 30-somethings. Surely dowdy mums must need somewhere to dump their sprogs during the day as well


Low quality family comedy minus the laughs.