Eddie Murphy as Charlie Hinton
Jeff Garlin as Phil
Steve Zahn as Marvin
Regina King as Kim
Anjelica Huston as Miss Harridan
Susan Santiago as Sean’s Mom
Leila Arcieri as Kelly
Elle Fanning as Jamie
Brie Hill Arbaugh as Jamie’s Mom
Parker McKenna Posey as Georgia
Sloane Momsen as Beth-Anne
Paul Anthony Reynolds as Marty
Makenzie Vega as Bridget
“Daddy Day Care” has a few shining moments, but most of the jokes have been done before in better movies.
When Charlie Hinton loses his job, he must become a stay-at-home dad while his wife starts working again. While taking care of his young son, he comes up with the idea of starting Daddy Day Care, a daycare run by dads (duh). It seems like a great idea at first, but Charlie soon finds himself in over his head. Along with friends Phil and Marvin, he faces hyperactive children, angry parents, government regulations, and competition from a rival upscale daycare. But despite all the obstacles, will Charlie finally be able to connect with his son?
“Daddy Day Care” is rated PG for language.
Anybody with kids will appreciate this movie, especially dads. With two young kids of my own, I kept finding myself saying, “Yep! Been there. Done that.” All the trials and tribulations Charlie goes through were all too familiar to me, so I probably laughed a bit more than other viewers. The quirky kids, potty jokes, and other things really hit home.
Eddie Murphy really keeps the movie rolling. He seems to have a lot of fun in the role and it shows on the screen. He’s got quite a bit of energy as Charlie and he needs it to keep up with the kids. He works particularly well with the boy who plays his son. The kid is cute and he manages to generate laughs on his own.
The addition of Steve Zahn late in the film really picks things up. He plays a shy, social misfit who also happens to be a Trekkie. Zahn generates a lot of laughs speaking Klingon to a kid, doing a puppet show of The Wrath Of Khan, and more. Your inner geek will get a kick out of him. He also takes part in a lot of comic book jokes with a kid who dresses as The Flash. If you’re any kind of comic fan, like I am, you’ll enjoy the comic in-jokes.
Overall this is light comedy that’s safe to take the kids to.
What Didn’t Work:
I really was looking forward to “Daddy Day Care”, but the film was a bit disappointing. Maybe my expectations were too high. The film started out poorly and took a while to get up to steam. It wasn’t till about halfway through that the laughs really started coming.
One of the problems was Jeff Garlin as Phil. In practically every scene in the movie he’s either getting hit or eating. In one stretch it seemed like there wasn’t a minute that went by without Garlin running around screaming in pain. It really was a bit too much. Angelica Huston is also over the top as Miss Harridan. She starts out as an interesting, restrained character but then degenerates into a villainess who’s nothing more than a joke. It’s a terrible waste of Huston’s talents.
I also had issues with a scene where three mothers confront Eddie Murphy’s character about men running a daycare. The women literally scream at Murphy and call him a pervert for opening the daycare. After one of them storms away, the other two relent and then sign their kids up ..after basically accusing Murphy of being a child molester. I thought the scene was both unrealistic and disturbing on a lot of levels.
Finally, this movie has been done before. Take the antics between the kids and Schwarzenegger in “Kindergarten Cop” and cross it with “Mr. Mom” and you have “Daddy Day Care”. Many of the jokes are the same and they were funnier the first time. Now they don’t seem terribly original.
The Bottom Line:
Kids and parents may get a kick out of “Daddy Day Care”, but this film is more of a renter than something you should make an effort to see in theaters.