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  Directed by
    None Listed
  Starring
    None Listed
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Hungarian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Russian: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    English, Czech, Greek, Polish, Hungarian, Russian, Arabic, English - Hearing Impaired, Turkish, Icelandic, Croatian, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Hindi, Romanian, Bulgarian, Slovenian, Serbian
  Extras
  • 3 Teaser trailer
  • Theatrical trailer
  • 4 Featurette
  • Outtakes
  • 3 Interactive game
  • Short film

Daddy Day Care

Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 89 mins . G . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Whatever happened to the Beverly Hills Cop? Last seen adding a mouthful of machine-gun vernacular to BCIII, Axel Foley and his characteristic ’tache have been conspicuously absent from the Hollywood cine-scape for some years now. But even despite his sudden disappearance, rumours and unsubstantiated sightings of Axel have continued to appear in the world’s tabloids. The most promising of these was the now not-so-recent episode with an LA transvestite, but most often these claims focus around preposterous accounts of Axel’s appearance in so-called ‘family films’. Granted, the guy playing Buddy Love in 1996’s The Nutty Professor pulled off a reasonably good impersonation, but other cited examples include the obvious imposter in 2001’s Dr Doolittle, the odd flash of wry dialogue in 2002’s I Spy, and for some strange reason the complete idiot whose career was exterminated by the woeful The Adventures of Pluto Nash. If these claims alone weren’t enough to lay the matter to rest, eyesight-impaired cinema-goers the world over continue to swear that Axel is the voice behind Shrek’s miniature furry companion, Donkey. Such claims are quite obviously ridiculous.

Which brings us to the latest in a long line of film’s around which the rumour of Axel continues to circulate. The film in question, Daddy Day Care, is the latest offering from quote-un-quote “director” Steve Carr - creator of such schlock as the aptly named Dr. Dolittle 2. A predictable, feel-good family film, Daddy Day Care stars a man who bears only the slightest resemblance to Axel. This obvious imposter plays retrenched marketing executive Charlie Hinton who, along with overweight partner Phil (Jeff Garlin), loses his job when his campaign for new kiddies health cereal “Veggio-O’s” predictably fails to impress. A man who really only knows his young son Ben (Khamani Griffin) by name, an unemployed Charlie is quickly relegated to child-minding duties when his wife Kim (Regina King) returns to the workforce. Yes, Charlie’s got a lot of growing to do (yada, yada) and, to help him out, the plot supplies him with a brainwave. With only one, highly exclusive (and highly expensive) day-care centre – Chapman Academy - operating in their local area, he and Phil will start their own facility and clean up. Literally. Just how hard can this child minding lark be? Joined by fellow retrenched employee (and serious Trekkie) Marvin (Steve Zahn), the boys soon begin to pose a threat to Chapman, whose uptight headmistress (Anjelica Huston) will stop at nothing to rain on their parade.

Basically a string of adventures in naïve-parenting, at its core Daddy Day Care is little more than a parade of dirty nappy jokes and crude slapstick, injected with a layer of schmaltzy, feel-good, happy-family claptrap. It’s predictable, it’s shallow and, to be honest, the direction is really rather poor. And yet, it works. Maybe this family feel-good guff is starting to work on me, but some clever writing has injected the film with enough unique (if predictable) situations to extract a giggle or two. The majority of these, it must be said, come via Steve Zahn’s Marvin; a pathetic yet lovable geek - a big kid himself and one who regales the kids with Punch and Judy versions of Wrath of Khan and duels them with lightsabres. No, highbrow it most certainly isn’t, but Daddy Day Care is light, midweek entertainment that manages to entertain. As for repeat viewings? Well, that’s another story completely…

  Video
Contract

Brimming with bright, happy colours, and devoid of special effects or complex lighting, Daddy Day Care should have made the transition from celluloid to pixels relatively easily. For the most part, Columbia have succeeded in this; a recent cinema release, the image has been sourced from a crystal clean print and is devoid of any telecine or aliasing artefacts. Blacks, meanwhile, are solid (when needed) skin tones are natural and the vivid hues that dominate the screen - from the azure sky to Charlie’s Partridge Family Tarago - literally leap from the screen. And while Columbia have tried to help out with a little edge enhancement here and there, the image is nice and sharp with a depth of detail that extends into the corners of most frames.

The image does carry, however, two minor deficiencies. The first, a penchant for grain in the backgrounds of interior scenes, is inherent in the source material. The second - rather more annoyingly introduced by the compression process - is a number of instances of macroblocking on some darker interior walls. While neither of these problems unduly affect the level of detail in the image, (nor do they ever reach a distracting level), Columbia really could have taken a little more care with the compression process. A relatively simple film to transfer compared to others in their catalogue, just a touch more attention to detail would have yielded perfect results.

  Audio
Contract

Endowed with an English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix (and dubs in Czech, Hungarian and Russian), Daddy Day Care has a surprisingly active soundstage for a wordy, family comedy. With most of the scenes taking place in quiet locations (such as the family home) the dialogue never has to fight against environmental or foley effects, and while the kids are a little hard to understand at times, the gags are clear and distinct throughout. By far the principle contributor to the surprisingly immersive viewing experience, and one which adds greatly to the film’s life and vitality, is the range of very aptly chosen pop tunes; from The Ramones' I Wanna Be Sedated to The Sweet’s Ballroom Blitz and Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas. There’s also some Jackson 5 tracks in there too, but I’ve conveniently overlooked these so as to make my point. Mixed well between the front and rear channels, it is these tunes that help to fill out the soundstage and surround the viewer. The effect is filled out with a few directional effects such as stereo pans, and a modicum of ambient sound, especially when those kids get on the red cordial. As you might expect the subwoofer is used only sparingly throughout, but when it does come it’s to good effect – adding punch to The Flash’s takeoff, and rumbling to warn of impending (potty) disasters.

  Extras
Contract

Accessed via a set of cheaply animated, yet anamorphic (and certainly brightly coloured) menus, the set of extra features compiled for Daddy Day Care are yet another case of long list – little content. A good example is the four featurettes that, hosted by the kiddie stars from the film (a bunch who are barely old enough to string a sentence together), are themselves basically all identical in presentation and content, with what appears to be completely arbitrary assignment of content between them.

  • Featurette – Good Morning Eddie Murphy: (00:03:13) The kids talk about working with ‘big movie star’ Eddie Murphy and he talks about working with them. The producers and director talk about them working together. The talk is augmented by on-set footage. The results, unfortunately, are cute but not terribly interesting.

  • Featurette – Meet the Kids of Daddy Day Care: (00:06:18) Just like first day in kinder, the kids tell us what their real name is, what character they play, what they like to eat, and what they like to do when they are not acting with ‘big movie star’ Eddie Murphy. Again, cute, but uninspiring.

  • Featurette – Quiet on the Set!!: (00:05:48) The kids tell us what a director’s job is, and we’re introduced not to the director but the on-set kiddie wrangler. What was his name again? I forget. Tough luck fella. There’s behind-the-scenes footage, interviews with producers, the director and ‘the talent’ about the good and bad aspects of working with kids.

  • Featurette – What Did That Kid Say?: (00:03:21) The kids talk about what it’s like being a movie star, and everyone else talks about how the kids couldn’t get over working with ‘the’ Eddie Murphy. Who the hell came up with this stuff??

  • ‘Early Bloomer’: one of the small list of decent inclusions, this computer animated short (00:03:28) from Sony Imageworks tells the story of a small tadpole who develops a little faster than his pond-dwelling friends. A technically proficient and reasonably entertaining example of the craft.

  • Games: Three interactive games are included, basically involving matching of characters in the film with something be it a sound or their pet, or finding the odd-one-out. Kids under five without a Playstation, Xbox or Gameboy may enjoy this.

  • Bloopers Reel: Two and a half minutes of mildly amusing outtakes that also appear over the closing credits of the film.

  • Trailers: are provided for Daddy Day Care , Annie, Oliver! and Stuart Little 2. Yawn.

  Overall  
Contract

At first sight, Daddy Day Care appears to be a film for kids, but in reality that’s just an illusion promoted by the complete and utter lack of controversy. Steadfastly walking the firm, middle ground of ‘family-values’ entertainment, it’s a light, sometimes funny and often enjoyable film full of cute kids and obvious gags. It’s a Kindergarten Cop without the muscle-head, the murdered English, or the, erm, character development.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3339
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      And I quote...
    "Steadfastly walking the firm, middle ground of ‘family-values’ entertainment, it’s a light, sometimes funny and often enjoyable film full of cute kids and obvious gags. "
    - Gavin Turner
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Toshiba SD-2108
    • TV:
          Panasonic TC-68P90A TAU (80cm)
    • Receiver:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Amplifier:
          Yamaha RX-V795
    • Speakers:
          B&W 602
    • Centre Speaker:
          B&W CC6 S2
    • Surrounds:
          JM Lab Cobalt SR20
    • Subwoofer:
          B&W ASW-500
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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