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Daddy Day Care - Special Edition
Reviewed by: David Litton
Genre: Comedy
Video: 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, 1.33:1 fullframe
Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Language: English, French
Subtitle: English, French
Length: 92 min
Rating: PG
Release Date: 09/23/2003
Studio: Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment
Commentary: None
Documentaries: None
Featurettes: "Good Morning, Eddie Murphy" featurette, "Meet the Daddy Day Care Kids" featurette, "Quiet on the Set!" featurette, "What Did That Kid Say?" featurette
Filmography/Biography: None
Interviews: None
Trailers/TV Spots: Theatrical trailers
Alternate/Deleted Scenes: None
Music Video: None
Other: "Early Bloomers" animated short, "Name the Noisemaker" game, "Kid Card Match-Up" game, "Odd One Out" game, blooper reel
Cast and Crew: Eddie Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Steve Zahn, Anjelica Huston, Regina King
Written By: Geoff Rodkey
Produced By: John Davis, Matt Berenson, Wyck Godfrey
Directed By: Steve Carr
Music: David Newman
The Review:

Adding yet another notch to an already-crowed belt of movie failures, Eddie Murphy slums it once again in "Daddy Day Care," a comedy that spares no expense when it comes to poop jokes and lifeless humor the likes of which Pluto Nash might aspire to. It sounds like a fairly good concept, with Murphy front-lining as Charlie Hinton, a now-jobless husband and father who finds himself working as a child care practicioner in order to get back on his feet and support his family. In cahoots with his former business partner Phil (Jeff Garlin), Charlie manages to make a name for his new in-home venture by proposing it as an alternative to the strict guidelines and regulations of Mrs. Harridan (Angelica Huston), whose Chapman Academy (think of it as prep school for tots) has since been the only available selection in town when it comes to decent day care. ***

The scenario is ripe with potential as far as comedy is concerned, and the pairing of Murphy with an ever-growing number of restless four-year-olds harkens back to that of Schwarzenegger and his own young brood in the far superior "Kindergarten Cop." Perhaps that movie was better because despite the fact that it featured screaming children, it still had the goods for an adult audience. "Daddy Day Care," however, resorts to little more than bodily humor, usually restricted to kids doing things like running circles around their caretakers, kicking adults in the shins, and using the bathroom in any place but. This gets old rather quickly, as does the ever-present plot, which is so run-of-the-mill that it becomes nothing short of a disappointment. Murphy looks like he's having fun, but who has time to share that fun when you've got fifteen little ones to watch over? Suffice it to say, "Daddy Day Care" probably looked good on paper, but as a feature film, it's nothing short of a missed opportunity.

Image and Sound:

Columbia has given us both widescreen and fullframe transfers for "Daddy Day Care," and considering the rather scant running time of the extras and the film itself, I'm surprised at how the widescreen version looks here. Overall it's pretty decent, with lots of bright, bubbly colors that are saturated nicely, and complimented by accurate fleshtones and mostly solid blacks. Clarity is also pleasing, with sharp edges that do exhibit some enhancement halos. Contrast is generally pleasing but flawed in places, and shadow detail needs improvement. There are some signs of digital noise and artifacts present in wall textures in interior scenes, and the picture is heavy on film grain in a number of moments. Not that the core audience cares much, so I guess it'll do. ***

The audio comes in Dolby Digital 5.1, without many perks. Dialogue sounds natural and the music is well-recorded to take advantage of the surrounds, but for the most part, this is typical comedy fodder that remains restricted to the front end of the soundfield and doesn't really have much pizazz.

The Extras: The only thing I can really say in favor of the "Daddy Day Care" DVD is that there's no audio commentary. But what it lacks in audible comments it more than makes up for with a slop bucket of needless extras that are as painfully unfunny as the film itself, save for the animated short "Early Bloomers," which is quite cute, and deserves its own DVD away from this tripe. Following this is four featurettes- "Good Morning, Eddie Murphy," "Meet the Daddy Day Care Kids," "Quiet on the Set!" and "What Did That Kid Say?"- all of which feature interviews with the kids hosted by the kids, and none of which provide very much in terms of how the movie got made. Then we have a collection of three interactive set-top games, some of which can be a little confusing. A blooper reel is also attached, and a gallery of theatrical trailers.
Commentary: None
Final Words: If you like Eddie Murphy, chances are you're going to be disappointed with his latest career move. And the DVD doesn't do much to make up for that, either.


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