May 2003
Daddy Day Care :

Reviewed by Wilson Morales

Daddy Day Care
Distributor: Sony Pictures (Columbia)
Director: Steve Carr
Producers: Matt Berenson, John Davis, & Wyck Godfrey
Screenplay: Geoff Rodkey
Music: David Newman
Running Time: 93 min
Cast: Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Steve Zahn, Regina King, Angelica Huston, Lacey Chabert and Khamani Griffin


It’s interesting that as Mother’s Day approaches, some of the things most fathers like to do is give the mother of their child or children a day of rest and comfort. Gifts may come in the form of a nice spa treatment or a vacation on an exotic island or a day without doing the daily household chores. Taking the latter statement aside, dads could go further by taking their kids to go see Eddie Murphy play the All-American dad in Daddy Day Care, a hilarious family film that should please all.

Charlie Hinton (Murphy) and his co-worker Phil (Garlin) are advertising salesmen who get laid off when they can’t sell commercials geared for kids. This should be a relief for Charlie’s wife Kim (King), who sees this as a chance for Charlie to spend more time with his son Ben (Griffin). Along with the layoff is the fact that Charlie has watch his savings and realizes he can’t afford to send Ben to the day care center run by Miss Harridan (Huston). Harridan runs a tight ship at her center and this is too strict for Charlie for he recruits Phil to start their own day care center. Using his house as the center, most folks are reluctant to send trust the two men with kids until one of the moms in the neighborhood does. Soon enough, Charlie and Phil have 10 kids in their care and find that the idea wasn’t as easy as they thought it would be. When Miss Harriman starts losing kids to the guys, she sends an inspector to make sure they are breaking child care laws. Some of the kids have their own identity. One of the kids won’t take off his “Flash” costume, another bribes one of the dads for money for silence; and one kid is so rude, he kicks the legs of Charlie to get attention. Needing help, Charlie and Phil bring in Marvin, a not so bright man on the outside, but the talents to take care of the kids. Marvin also happens to be a big sci-fi fan, and his Star Trek gimmicks come in handy. With the house getting fuller everyday with more kids, the guys have more than fair share of work cut out for them.

Daddy Day Care is a very funny film that will cater to all families. Predictable from start to finish, the film has a fine execution. Eddie Murphy, who’s usually the center of attention in most of his films, is taking a back seat here. Although he has his moments of comedic flair, he realizes this film is really for kids and let’s them have most of the funniest gags. Garlin, co-star of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, shows some spunk as he uses tender humor to illustrate laughs. Zahn is a natural. Huston, not really known for her comedic skills, just goes along for the ride adding her Miss Crabtree skills to the film. None of the kids really stand out because they are all exceptional. At a time when comic book heroes and favorite TV characters are coming back to the big screen, it’s nice to see a film where kids can come and enjoy themselves. Parents may wish for a film that gives them pleasure as well, and Daddy Day Care will certainly do that, as Eddie Murphy and the kids are marvelously entertaining.