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THE PACIFIER (PG) (2005)

Walt Disney Pictures

Official Site

Director: Adam Shankman

Producers: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman

Written by: Thomas Lennon & Ben Garant

Cast: Vin Diesel, Brad Garrett, Lauren Graham, Faith Ford, Chris Potter, Tate Donovan

Rating:


Vinnie, Vinnie, Vinnie. I’m so disappointed with you. Not so long ago, you showed such promise with your performances in the movies Saving Private Ryan, The Iron Giant, Boiler Room, and even Pitch Black. So Vin Diesel (AN: It’s cooler if you try pronouncing his first and last name together as one word. Try it… VINDIESEL!), who started from the very bottom and worked his way to the top with commercial (but not really critical) successes in The Fast And The Furious and xXx, was suddenly the proverbial next big thing, getting the $20 million offers per picture. But then there’s all that other rubbish he did—Knockaround Guys, A Man Apart, and of course the horribly mediocre Pitch Black follow-up, The Chronicles Of Riddick.

So Vinnie, when your formerly progressing film career looks to be veering off a Mt. Everest-sized cliff, what do you do? WHAT DO YOU DO? Well for whatever reason you don’t do a xXx sequel, not a Fast And The Furious sequel, and CERTAINLY not a movie based on the conqueror and military leader, Hannibal (apparently Hannibal is finally due out in 2006 with Vinnie himself directing). No, since your predecessor found success with it, you use Arnie’s strategy with Kindergarten Cop and do what is essentially Kindergarten Cop-lite—which finally brings us to The Pacifier. All I have to say to you now Vinnie is, “Did it feel good when Michael Eisner clipped off your testicles and whatever fortitude was in them with dull pliers?”

For the cookie-cutter plot, Vinnie portrays Shane Wolfe, a seasoned and dedicated Navy Seal lieutenant. After his latest assignment, Wolfe fails to rescue a military scientist, Howard Plummer (Donovan), who has built a program that the U.S. uses to launch nukes. After recovering, Wolfe’s Capt. Fawcett (Potter) charges Wolfe with watching after Plummer’s brood of five and searching for the hidden program named “Ghost,” while Capt. Fawcett and Plummer’s wife, Julie (Ford) are in Zurich trying to gain the contents of a deposit box Dr. Plummer left behind. Of course, the plot would not allow as much fun and hijinx if Lt. Wolfe only got to interact with the family for just a couple days. Therefore, the apt plot device of not having a dumb password for the annoying Swiss bankers is put into effect so tough guy Wolfe must learn the hard way how to be a family man.

Obviously the draw of the movie is supposed to be the absurd novelty of a legitimate tough guy like Vinnie (who was a bouncer in prominent nightclubs growing up in NYC) doing silly and goofy stuff such as changing diapers, the “Peter Panda” dance, and car-pooling. Since Vinnie is a military otaku and the kids are just normal, disposable, bratty, annoying-as-sin movie kids, tension exists at first until Wolfe earns their respect, trust, and of course… love (AN: Want to know something, Bohemians? I saw Moulin Rouge, and after watching this movie, you know what I say? FUCK LOVE!). There’s also the former Seal-turned-school principal, Claire Fletcher (Graham), who is of course the designated boring love interest, and the film’s antagonist in vice-principal Murney, (“Everybody Loves Raymond” star Garrett).

I won’t say I dislike the whole “fish out of water” concept or that it never appeals to me. The film takes a military guy who only knows military life and is socially inept, and suddenly thrusts him into a normal life where he clashes and can’t cope. The concept works to great and hilarious effect in the anime series “Full Metal Panic” (but that also had giant robots and Bonta-kun). In The Pacifier, it’s juvenile and uninspired. I guess some people will pay to see Vinnie do stupid stuff, but to me it’s just Vinnie doing stupid stuff, and that’s not something I want to pay to see. Thank the Deity I did not.

I expect this kind of work from repeat offender Adam Shankman, the director responsible for the Grand Slam of Suck that was The Wedding Planner, not to mention A Walk To Remember and Bringing Down The House. However, I expected more from the screenwriters Lennon and Garant, creators and stars of such great Comedy Central shows as “Reno 911,” “Viva Variety,” and “Strangers With Candy.” The difference in quality between those shows and this utter failure is night and day. I can only hope it was as I heard: that they just did a little servicing on this crap and were possibly responsible for the couple of times I slightly chuckled.

I say all this knowing full well that this will probably be the #1 or #2 movie of the weekend and that yeah, families go out to see this type of movie, as evidenced by Kindergarten Cop or more recently, Are We There Yet? I just want you to know, if you don’t have small children and you value your precious brain cells, I can only take the bullet for you so many times. And remember, there’s probably plenty of great stuff in your DVD collection to entertain you. As for you Vinnie, you probably should’ve stuck with xXx. I just hope you enjoy your current life as a eunuch.

—Jeffrey “The Vile One” Harris

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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