PG. I'm depressed enough as it is having to write this. Don't make me go on another tirade over the death of G.
DIRECTOR: Adam Shankman
Do you know who wrote this movie? Oh, Sweet Christmas. I was depressed knowing I had to write a review for this movie, and then I saw who wrote it. I feel like a million bucks right now. Ready for this? Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant. They wrote a book all about how these kinds of movies are so easy to write and that they make mad bank off of these kinds of films. It explains so much. This and Herbie: Fully Loaded. I thought I lived in a world where The Pacifier was someone's big break into Hollywood. I thought someone poured his heart and soul into this stinking pile of garbage and wept over what he hath wrought. Nope. Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant: comic geniuses who know what to write for any specific audience. Everything here was a choice and now I'm peeling back the layers of sanity that have plastered my life.
I was mainly wondering what kind of checklist this movie was following. (Apparently I say "paint-by-numbers" too often. This movie isn't "paint-by-numbers" exactly. "Paint-by-numbers.") There are live action little kid tropes all over this movie and it was shocking to see how many of these tropes could be fit into 95 minutes. I would use bullets, but I feel like that would just padding out the length of this review. Let's see: Muscle bound guy who doesn't get kids learns to like kids, old lady with silly accent, "a duck isn't supposed to be a pet", toddler has very specific demands, girl scouts beat up boys, old out of shape guy wearing something wildly unflattering, "minivans aren't supposed to be in car chases", rebellious kids learn lesson from military training, underground military base made entirely out of stainless steel and lasers, main guy gets the girl simply because she is the only viable lady, "the guy who organized this whole thing is actually the secret bad guy", somehow the stupid things in life lead to your defeat of the bad guy, etc. I know the list goes on and on, but I think I actually got wide-eyed watching this movie and listing the amount of just hardcore cliches that showed up. There's barely a movie here, but it simply is little kid catnip. I honestly use a lot of just plain silliness with my kids because it cracks them up. I cracked a smile a few times because at one point, I just had to let go of my desperation for any kind of cohesion and laughed at a grown man doing a panda dance.
Vin Diesel is never...great? I'm trying to find a nice way to say that, but he's not. He's actually never really all that good. I like his personality. I hear he's a big Dungeons and Dragons fan and that gives him some nerd clout. But every movie I've seen with him has usually been pretty sub par. Often, it is the movie's fault. It's not my cup of tea. Some of you will be screaming Pitch Black, but I didn't really dig that one either. Looking at a really young Vin Diesel, I can't believe how much he's improved since then. Again, I can't ever say that he is a good actor now, but I'm saying he is just abysmal in this movie. He has one emotion and it is the same throughout. Part of the problem is that there is supposed to be a character arc for Shane Wolfe. (Gah...even the name.) He's supposed to be visibly upset by having to take care of these children. His military training that distances him from relationships is supposed to get in the way of understanding these kids. The words even say that, but his delivery is the same from the beginning of the movie to the end. That even performance makes it look like, "I know how to handle children. The children have been handled." There's no major transition from his gruff exterior to a regular guy who loves these kids. He just says "I love these kids" and that's the change. A lot rides on delivering at least a mediocre performance. The Pacifier is missing its most essential cliche, the darned theme.
The most bizarre part of this movie is how many people genuinely love it. Everything I'm writing right now is probably pure blasphemy. We've discussed that some movies should never be revisited or discovered after a certain age. I am way off on the age level that this movie is intended for. I can't help noticing the cracks in things and I realistically probably went into this movie wanting to hate it. I remember when this came out and rolling my eyes really hard because I had just graduated from college. This movie was never meant for me and the trailers already pointed out how forgotten this movie would be. I'm sorry if I'm crushing dreams here. Again, I'm a big fan of you standing next to your fandom, regardless of others' opinions. If I had to preach this movie, I can now say that I've seen yet another Lauren Graham movie. I could try convincing myself that this is a very bizarre alternate season of Gilmore Girls. Also, Brad Garrett is hamming it up pretty well. I don't know what emotional arc he went through to end up in the production of Sound of Music, but its there.
Oh, those tropes. "Bully likes musical theatre" and "Male bully wears women's clothing." I knew I forgot something.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.