The Pacifier

As an action star, Vin Diesel's recent films (Chronicles of Riddick, A Man Apart) are progressively less interesting. So the logical thing to do is broaden his acting ability by starring in an equally uninteresting family comedy. Think something along the lines of Kindergarten Cop or Daddy Day Care. Diesel is Shane Wolf, decorated Navy SEAL. The beginning of the film finds him rescuing Howard Plummer (Tate Donovan, Swordfish, Exposed) from some dangerous corner of the world. Plummer is the inventor of a program called Ghost, which allows the operator to take control of the nuclear arsenal of given country. Before Wolf can complete the mission, a bullet kills Plummer and wounds Wolf.

The Pacifier moves forward a few months. The government believes that Plummer's wife may know the password of a Swiss Bank Account that may lead to Ghost. As a result, Wolf she and her children may still be a national security risk. While Julie Plummer (Faith Ford, Beethoven's 5th, North) heads off to Switzerland, a befuddled Wolf arrives in suburbia to take care of Zoe (Brittany Snow), Seth (Max Thieriot, Catch That Kid), Lulu (Morgan York, Cheaper by the Dozen, The Vest), and Peter (Keegan and Logan Hoover). As a lifelong soldier, Wolf has no idea how to take care of, or relate to children. This means that instead of acting like a father or a brother, he runs things like a combat unit.

This is where director Adam Shankman (Bringing Down the House, A Walk to Remember) and screenwriters Thomas Lennon and Ben Garant (Taxi) want to use the humor present in this dichotomy. Look - it's a huge buff guy trying to change a diaper with tongs! A soldier driving a minivan! Yeah, it's mildly amusing, but never gets above this level. Most of the time it's a pretty lazy effort by the filmmakers. The one funny moment comes when Lulu asks Wolf if her boobs will ever be as big as his. Things start roughly, and as a rule for these kinds of movies, by the end, everybody will be great friends. The kids will all learn some valuable life lesson and Wolf will learn to appreciate kids.

Along these lines, there are some random situations like Wolf directing a musical, wrestling a vice principal (Brad Garrett, Garfield, Finding Nemo) and gentle flirting with a principal (Lauren Graham, Seeing Other People, Bad Santa), teaching Zoe how to drive, and teaching Lulu and her wannabe Girl Scouts martial arts. Shankman sets up all of these situations but the payoffs are never great. In order to make a film funny, Shankman needs to do more than just set up a joke. Worse is that Diesel does not have much of a personality. He cannot inflect his vocal tone that much, which is fine in action film but not in a movie with other emotions.

Haro Rates It: Not That Good.
1 hour, 31 minutes, Rated PG for action violence, language, and rude humor.

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