Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

The Pacifier

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
7 out of 10
Movie Details:
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Rating: PG

Starring:
Vin Diesel as Shane Wolfe
Lauren Graham as Principal Claire Fletcher
Faith Ford as Julie Plummer
Brittany Snow as Zoe Plummer
Max Thieriot as Seth Plummer
Chris Potter as Capt. Bill Fawcett
Carol Kane as Helga
Brad Garrett as Vice Principal Murney
Morgan York as Lulu Plummer
Kegan Hoover as Peter Plummer
Logan Hoover as Peter Plummer
Bo Vink as Baby Tyler
Luke Vink as Baby Tyler
Tate Donovan as Howard Plummer
Scott Thompson as Director

Special Features:
Commentary by writer/director Adam Shankman

Deleted Scenes & Bloopers

"On Set With Brad Garrett: Unpacified"

"On Set With Mr. Diesel: Action Hero and Nice Guy"

Special Ops TV commercials

Other Info:
Widescreen (2.35:1)
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound
French Language
French Subtitles
Running Time: 96 Minutes

Synopsis:
The following is the official synopsis of the film:

"Walt Disney Pictures presents action hero Vin Diesel (XXX, The Fast and the Furious) in a fast-paced comedy smash from the director of Brining Down the House! Lt. Shane Wolfe (Diesel) is a tough-as-nails Navy S.E.A.L. who has controlled military operations in every corner of the globe. Now the ultimate test comes when he's assigned to protect the home front ... as in a house loaded with five out-of-control kids! But even when he trades combat gear for diapers and juice boxes, it's not just a babysitting job -- it's an adventure!"

The Pacifier is rated PG for action violence, language and rude humor.

The Movie:
The Pacifier is essentially Vin Diesel's attempt to follow in the footsteps of Arnold Schwarzenegger. It's his Kindergarten Cop. Unfortunately, it's not as good as Kindergarten Cop. The Pacifier won't appeal to fans of his from XXX, Pitch Black, or The Fast and the Furious. It also doesn't have enough to engage adults who aren't his fans yet. Rather than shooting for broad audiences, The Pacifier is made for kids and they are the ones who will enjoy it most. I sat my own children down in front of it and they enjoyed it, so from that point of view it's successful. However, everyone else will probably just want to pass.

The biggest problem with The Pacifier is that the story is predictable, unbelievable, and at times a bit over the top. If they had managed to throw in a couple of better surprises or if they had stayed a bit more reality based with their action, and I think The Pacifier would have had greater appeal. Instead The Pacifier is very much by the numbers. The only thing that saves the film is that it does manage to offer a few laughs here and there. Believe it or not a duck manages to be the best of the supporting cast and it frequently steals the show. There are also some amusing scenes with the toddler and the infant that I could identify with. The little boy, Peter Plummer, is completely out of control, much like my own son. I appreciated seeing Vin Diesel suffer like I do on a daily basis. The movie ventures into the realm of Home Alone at one point when some ninjas invade the house. A fight scene between some girl scouts and boy scouts (or the generic equivalent of them) offers up some laughs as well, but as previously mentioned it's pretty over the top.

This movie proves that Vin Diesel can handle comedy, but he needs a better script to do it well. His mix of comedy and action has the potential to be very entertaining, but it's pretty watered down here. Most of the supporting cast members are TV show regulars. Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls) plays Principal Claire Fletcher. Faith Ford (Murphy Brown, Hope & Faith) plays Julie Plummer. Brittany Snow (American Dreams) also plays Zoe Plummer. Carol Kane even has a cameo as the nanny Helga. But most notable of the TV star actors is Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond) as Vice Principal Murney. I think he hams up the movie most as a dumb jock / coach that terrorizes the children and threatens Diesel's character.

If you're looking for a movie that will entertain kids but won't make parents suicidal, then I think The Pacifier will fit the bill. It's mildly amusing and should offer some sort of entertainment for everyone in the family. However, hard core, older Vin Diesel fans should stay far away from this and just watch Pitch Black instead.

The Extras:
The following are the highlights of the bonus features:

Commentary by writer/director Adam Shankman As you might expect, Shankman spends a lot of time talking about how he worked with the kids, the animals, and Vin Diesel. It certainly sounded challenging.

Deleted Scenes & Bloopers These are your standard bloopers featuring flubbed lines, mistakes with props, and ducks not doing what they're supposed to. The deleted scenes are fairly minor. One shows more of Brad Garret harassing Diesel. Another shows the kids pleading with police to help them but they are instead ignored. That scene was obviously cut so that kids wouldn't get the idea that police wouldn't listen to them. In short, the deleted scenes are brief and don't offer much background on the characters or the story.

"On Set With Brad Garrett: Unpacified" In this short feature we see Garrett clowning around on the set, talking trash about Diesel, and other such funny stuff. If you're a fan of Garrett, you'll enjoy this.

"On Set With Mr. Diesel: Action Hero and Nice Guy" This feature mainly shows the cast raving about how sweet Diesel is and how great he is with kids. It certainly aims to counter his bad boy image.

The Bottom Line:
The Pacifier is Vin Diesel-lite for kids. Fans of his action movie will probably want to pass on this. While it does have some laughs here and there, it's too predictable to be fun for wider audiences.

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