Daddy Day Care Review
In which Eddie Murphy runs for cover. Following one of the biggest flops in history (The Adventures of Pluto Nash), Murphy makes a broad comedy of intended mass appeal and Daddy Day Care is the result. He plays Charlie Hinton, a busy ad executive with little time for wife Kim (Regina King) and son Ben (Khamani Griffin). When Charlie gets the sack, he can no longer afford to send Ben to the exclusive college run by the subtly-named Miss Harridan (Anjelica Huston). So Charlie and fellow ex-employees Phil (Jeff Garlin) and Marvin (Steve Zahn) set up their own daycare centre called Daddy Day Care. It's such a success that Miss Harridan, seeing more and more parents withdrawing their children from her establishment, swears to get her own back...
Daddy Day Care is, as you can probably gather, aimed squarely at kids, and not very demainding ones at that. You can picture Bernard Herrman turning in his grave to hear his score for Psycho used as soundtrack for a poo joke. On the other hand, there are quite a few 70s and 80s songs on the soundtrack (by Katrina and the Waves, Jackson 5, Ramones and Sweet, amongst others, not to mention an in-person appearance by Cheap Trick), presumably there to sell a soundtrack album and divert the adults dragged along to see this. Murphy tries his best, but this is really yet another misapplication of his talents. Quality control has always been erratic throughout his career: even early on, he'd turn out a stinker like The Golden Child.
There are some amusing moments, most of them coming from Steve Zahn. Anjelica Huston camps it up as the most overt dyke-stereotype headteacher since Pam Ferris in Matilda. Steve Carr's direction is never more than routine, and Steven Poster's camerawork is unattractively dominated by over-bright colours. Daddy Day Care isn't as painful as it might have been, which is very painful, but there's nothing here for adults who don't have children to entertain (or reviews to write...)