“If you’re a fan of Diesel’s action hits, you’re not going to be in heaven here – but your kids may very well be” – Clint Morris
Vin Diesel, Lauren Graham, Faith Ford, Brad Garrett, Brittany Snow, Max Thieriot, Chris Potter, Carol Kane, Tate Donovan
Taking the Mickey out of yourself is always a good way to win over the public – in turn proving that you’re also quite a sport. But if you spoof your likeness too early in your career, do you come across as phoney and egotistical?
Vin Diesel, whose really only made a couple of action movies, obviously believes he’s much more of a box-office action hero than we do, because he’s doing something here that Arnold Schwarzenegger took a good decade to do – spoof the image he believes filmgoers know him best as. He’s obviously a man quite sure of himself.
But while the bald-headed bag of muscle could’ve waited before he’d done a dozen more action pics and for the offers to start drying up before he did “The Pacifier”, he still earns a couple of points for taking such a risk. This is like Kurt Russell jumping from John Carpenter back to the Disney troupe – a questionable shift of gears and then some.
Essentially using the same template as every other ‘hard-arse looks after the kids and turns their lives upside down’ film – including Arnie’s “Kindergarten Cop” and John Candy starrer “Uncle Buck” – “The Pacifier” centres on a tough by-the-book Navy lieutenant (Diesel) whose forced to play babysitter to a troupe of kids whose recently deceased father, a government scientist, has hidden his top-secret experiment in the family house. Somewhere.
Naturally, the kids hate the drill-sergeant at first – he treats them like soldiers, making them get up early, wear tracking devices and not letting them go out after dark – but as you might expect, they start to rub off on him, and vice versa. New buddies all round. Naturally, he’s going to save them from an on the cards threat too.
A lot less Violent than Schwarzenegger’s turn to kid-ville “Kindergarten Cop”, but also a little less intriguing, “The Pacifier” is fun, but pure Disney. There’s action, but only in a cartoonish-kind of way, and essentially only a couple of scenes where Diesel does what he ‘thinks’ he does best – kick butt. Still, this is entertaining stuff. Diesel proves himself to be quite the humour-hound and you’ll get a quick out of seeing him mortify himself in quite a few situations. He also works well with his younger co-stars.
If you’re a fan of Diesel’s action hits, you’re not going to be in heaven here – but your kids may very well be.
Extras include some deleted scenes, goofs and a behind-the-scenes featurette.
Reviewer : Clint Morris