Daddy Day Care

Forget feminism, Daddy Day Care has a basic premise – can men do the same job that predominately are done by women? Eddie Murphy plays Charlie Hinton, a product manager who is lumbered with trying to promote a product called Veggie-O’s. Both he and his friend and co-worker, Phil (Jeff Garlin) are axed when the company finally decides that children do not want to eat a vegetable based cereal for breakfast.

With Charlie stuck at home all day money starts to get tight, forcing Charlie’s wife Kim (Regina King) to restart her career as a lawyer. After being unsuccessful in getting another job, Charlie and Kim are forced to cancel their plans to send their young son Ben (Khamani Griffin) to the prestigious preschool Chapman Academy run by stern headmistress Miss Harridan (Angelica Huston).

With Charlie at home babysitting Ben all day, he comes up with an idea; seeing that there are no decent day care centres in the area (bar the expensive Chapman Academy) why not set up a good but cheap day care centre as an alternative?

So with Phil, Charlie spends their last money on making their house into a suitable day care centre which they aptly name Daddy Day Care. Soon, after some very reluctant parents are persuaded to leave their kids with two men, Charlie and Phil are discover that they are out of their depth, being run ragged by a bunch of small kids. Luckily they manage to enlist the services of Marvin (Steve Zahn), a strange Star Trek obsessed geek, who used to deliver the mail at their old company (actually he also used to sniff the mail too). It transpires that Marvin is great with kids and a real asset to Daddy Day Care.

Soon the popularity of Daddy Day Care reaches the ears of Miss Harridan who is not impressed as attendance at her school is dropping. Unimpressed she decides to wage war against the men and she has no qualms about fighting dirty either.

Directed by Steve Car, who also directed Murphy in Dr Dolittle 2, does a fair enough job with a script that has been done many times before namely taking a big name star, surrounding them with cute kids and bind it together with a combination of laughter and soppiness.

Eddie Murphy seems to have bigger hits with family films nowadays than his more adult films and after the atrocious performance from The Adventures of Pluto Nash, he needs a hit.

Almost all the cast entertain well enough, with Murphy showing a glimmer of the Eddie Murphy of old and even manages to do his trademark heehawing laugh. Jeff Garlin, who is John Goodman substitute, does a good job opposite Murphy. Steve Zahn always seems to do much better in films where he plays the soft spoken slightly off normal characters. Here is no exception. Angelica Huston seems to enjoy being the sneering villain of the piece but her role never lets her cut completely loose. The kids who also star in Daddy Day Care seem to have a riot running amongst the big names as the outtakes show.

Daddy Day Care has a few moments of real comic genius, but does suffer from a lack of pacing. It’s an ideal fun-filled family affair that should appeal, probably more so for people who already have kids. Just remember to stay for the outtakes during the final credits.

Score 6/10