The Pacifier Review
Government scientist Howard Plummer, working on a top-secret computer program called Ghost, is kidnapped. A group of Navy SEALS led by Lieutenant Shane Wolfe (Vin Diesel) attempts to rescue Plummer, but the mission goes wrong and Plummer is killed. Wolfe is assigned to look after Plummer’s family as Ghost is hidden somewhere inside their house, and they are in danger from terrorists. While Plummer’s widow travels to retrieve her husband’s effects, Wolfe is left at home with the children. Bad move...
The Pacifier is an attempt to broaden the Vin Diesel franchise, to attract fans of his action movies and draw in a family audience as well. Eddie Murphy did it recently in Daddy Day Care and, more successfully, Arnie made Twins and Kindergarten Cop. However, this combination of mild action and poo jokes isn’t likely to engage many people over the age of ten. Diesel has some screen presence – it’s why he became a star in the first place – but he’s not light enough on his feet to do comedy. The most distinguished comedian in the cast is Carol Kane, who is stuck with a caricature role as Eastern European nanny Helga, who leaves the film early. She gets vomited on in her opening scene, and I’ll leave you to read what you like into that. Love interest is provided by Lauren Graham, last seen having a Father Christmas fixation in Bad Santa: not, perhaps, the association intended to spring to mind for this film’s target audience. Incidentally, a “pacifier” is a baby’s dummy, but I doubt that title would ever see the light of a projector lamp.
There’s a baseline slickness to The Pacifier, in the direction, camerawork and editing, so that at least the film moves fast even if it leaves little impression. I’ve seen worse, but I’ve seen better too.