Daddy Day Care (2003) – movie review

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Movie Review by Vivienne Messenger

Starring: Eddie Murphy, Anjelica Huston, Steve Zahn, Regina King, Susan Santiago
Director: Steve Carr

Eddie Murphy and Jeff Garlin team up in this riotous comedy as two dads, who on losing their advertising jobs take charge of their own youngsters when the only alternative childcare is the very expensive and extremely regimental Chapman Academy kindergarten run by the uncompromising Miss Gwyneth Harridan (Anjelica Huston).

Charlie (Eddie Murphy) is convinced it can’t possibly be too taxing looking after several pre-school youngsters in addition to his own son Ben (Khamani Griffin) so he talks Phil (Jeff Garlin) into joining him in launching a childcare scheme – Daddy Day Care – from his home but with reservations from his wife, Kim (Regina King).

However as word rapidly spreads through the neighbourhood Daddy Day Care becomes an overnight success, despite teething troubles, but as numbers mushroom the dads/carers are obliged to recruit a third carer to keep on the right side of the local childcare inspector and within guidelines. Charlie and Phil’s old mailroom assistant, Marvin (the very talented Steve Zahn), who just happens to be delivering their final paychecks when the inspector is checking everything’s in order literally falls into the task of the third man on the team.

Marvin, a trekkie, has a naturally affinity with kids and he can talk to the children whether it’s in English, Klingon or as a hilarious ‘Mr Carrot’, but Daddy Day Care’s blossoming success causes increasing consternation for Miss Harridan who comes out fighting determined to knock the competition off the face of her territory by any dastardly means necessary!

Although DADDY DAY CARE is completely unrealistic it’s still an entertaining movie with superb acting from the three male leads and their exceptionally talented charges. In fact the children’s acting abilities are quite simply astounding. The director really had his work cut out for him but this is a well-paced, smooth operation – in between the pillow fights and daily mayhem.

Unfortunately most 4 year-olds will get a little fidgety but 6/7 year-olds upwards will instantly pick up on the well-executed comic situations and jokes. This is an amusing family comedy that will win most of its audience over.

Don’t miss the outtakes at the end of the movie!

4 out of 6 stars