The Pacifier (2005)

the_pacifier02So, call me a sucker, and have pity on me, but one of the saving graces for this was Brittany Snow. I got a thing for that gal, and she really helped me cruise through this without shutting it off and throwing it out the window. I’ve had a thing for her since “American Dreams” and she’s fun to look at during this crap fest. Meanwhile, the very funny Brad Garrett really pulls off the villain role here with his tough grizzled machismo fueled character and really does entertain where the others fail. “The Pacifier”, is undoubtedly a vehicle for Diesel whose popularity has seriously wavered. Now, attempting to cash in on his image in a children’s film, he’s not so much slumming it, but I saw it as him really just taking the comedic route ala Schwarzenegger in the much more enjoyable “Kindergarten Cop” to branch out with his career.

Diesel has never made good movies anyway, and much of his good roles were as supporting characters (Saving Private Ryan, Boiler Room), but Diesel doesn’t really pull anything off in this. He doesn’t branch out well and is completely one note. I mean the director for this is the man behind “Bringing Down the House”, and (ugh) “Cheaper by the Dozen 2”. While “The Pacifier” is not really the worst film I’ve ever seen, it is bad, and Diesel in all his one note glory, doesn’t really take it to a new level. For a man who seems to want to take his career in a different direction, he’s in the same place he was in the beginning. Granted, this has doesn’t have a lot of room for potential, but somewhere along the line while watching this, I felt it could have been a lot better. With talent like Lauren Graham, Brittany Snow, and Brad Garrett, it’s pretty annoying to see that everything is botched right from the beginning.

Diesel could have made a very entertaining children’s film that didn’t get stuck in the conventions like “Kindergarten Cop” did, but it just falls right in to the pit of conventions, cliché, and plot inconsistencies Disney loves to fashion for its children’s films. I was hoping to be pleasantly surprised by this, but I wasn’t, I got what I expected. The film is goofy from beginning to end, and not pleasantly goofy. What’s worse is we get the same characters we always do for these types of movies, a tough grizzled, but warm at heart authoritarian, the occasionally goofy characters, and the children are the obvious. We have the rebellious shallow oldest sister, the rebellious obnoxious younger brother, the rambunctious youngest child, and a couple of babies who never do much.

These are the same arch types I can watch in a crappy DTV film, and for a family with so much children we never get to know them. Their subplots suddenly just pop up without introduction in a very hackneyed manner, and it’s very sloppy. Suddenly these plot elements arise with the children spotlighted here and we never really get a sense of their characters, just broad focus on them. One wants to be a performer, the other is learning how to drive, and instead of using these elements as a way to drive the plot forward, it instead just stays in one place while we focus only on Diesel’s character. It’s just all very derivative never mustering up any effort to provide us with these human characters and real people but it reliant on gags and rather loud scenes that were mostly dizzying instead of really interesting or entertaining. And a lot of what happens during this is just so routine and we know everything will just wrap up in a little bow.

I mean, Vin, when you find yourself getting in a chase sequence in a pink girls’ bike, it’s time to get a new agent, pal. And the really fun people that could have made this better are hardly ever seen at all. Brad Garrett is hardly in this, Lauren Graham who is always charming is barely in this to even consider it a role, and none of it just ever makes any sense. Most of the time it’s extremely painful to endure with the girl scout sequences, and a lot of physical takes that were just dreadful. For Diesel, this isn’t a step up, this is just right where he’s going if he doesn’t wise up and get a new agent. This is a bad film. Is this a bad movie? Definitely. Would I recommend this to children? No. Because children are stupid enough to believe that getting over the death of a parent is this easy. However, though it does have a talented cast with occasionally charming moments, it’s still bad, and brainless.