Movie: The Pacifier

Our Rating: 3.00

It was the run-ragged parents who were laughing – often more loudly than the kids – at the Saturday-morning screening of what's being called "the remake of Kindergarten Cop." Please, Vin Diesel's muscles are SO much sexier than Arnold's, and the writers' sense of character is SO much more fun. From the extreme-action opening filled with techno toys and explosions to the sweet ending, Disney's comedy winds a far-fetched government spy plot around scenes of typical family dynamics – feeding time, dealing with bullies, learning how to drive, changing stinky diapers. The situations aren't so much clichéd as they are written from truth, which is why moms, dads and anyone else who's nurtured children in the 21st century revel in the catharsis. The kids, not so much. For them, the thought of Vin Diesel, a take-no-prisoners Navy S.E.A.L., replacing Mommy (and Daddy) could be scary if they're not yet indoctrinated by Disney tales that spin off from tragic parent-child separation. There's also violence of the faceless good guys vs. bad guys variety and rude language (Diesel's "boobs" are discussed). Diesel holds his own but is supported by an able ensemble, which bears a flash of brilliance: Carol Kane (the screwy fairy in Scrooged) pops up as Helga the nanny. With red hair, stained teeth, a Slavic accent and a stint as Miss Czechoslovakia 1978, her character makes the only lasting memory.


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