Daddy Day Care (2003)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Sweet, but meh.

In 2003, I was actually fifteen years old, so I was a teenager when I first saw Daddy Day Care. Back then, though, I loved nearly every single film I saw because I had so much respect for the art of film alone. That still rings true today, but nowadays I have more expectations for films. I can still respect Daddy Day Care a lot more than your average critic, but yeah, it does have its flaws. I never ended up seeing the “sequel” Daddy Day Camp, and that’s because they kept the same characters and recasted everyone…not cool, for any series. So here it is, Eddie Murphy’s family comedy, Daddy Day Care.

Charlie Hinton (Murphy) is a businessman at a very lucrative place that is responsible for cereal conception…marketing breakfast cereal towards kids. His division dealt with healthy alternatives, and because it wasn’t appealing to children, he was fired – along with 300 other people. To make ends meet, he and a couple other business associates create Daddy Day Care from his home. Because his hometown was in high demand of a decent day care facility for their children, this business rapidly began to boom. However, when a competing facility complains about Daddy Day Care, things get harder and harder for Charlie and his team.

I first want to enunciate the fact that this is a family comedy. It’s not made to reel in Oscars and Golden Globes. It’s meant to appeal to the whole family. You know, Dick, Jane and their two young kids? In the scheme of things, that’s all that really matters, and that’s all you should take into consideration while watching this film. It’s not rocket science. Eddie Murphy is a comedic legend and his insistent choice to make family fun films directly correlates to his own family. He wanted to make movies that his family could enjoy with him as a whole, and that’s admirable. His comedic styling shows through here just as you would expect and it does work…but just not as much as it should.

There is a lot of physical, sexist, and bodily humor going on in this film, just as you would probably expect from a film called Daddy Day Care. Ha ha, yes, daycares are normally run by females, and there are a lot of stereotypes around how fathers interact with children versus women. Trust me, all of those stereotypes are obvious in this film, and the rest of the humor is pretty much just cheap physical and bodily jokes. In any film, that might work once, but if the movie itself doesn’t have the best substance, you’re not going to get a lot out of multiple viewings, and you just don’t here. Beyond that, the comedy is more geared towards appealing kids, and parents won’t have much fun with it as they could in several other family films. So keep that in mind.

So the jokes are a bit of a touch and go depending on who is watching, but what about the meaningful messages? Well, I guess that depends. This is about reconnecting with your children when you’re a workaholic who is never home. Not everyone is going to connect with that, but I can see the importance. This is about the importance of family, and that’s pretty clear, but overdone. But most of all, it’s about having fun and relishing youth. That’s the most important and loudest message you’ll get from this movie.

The Good:

The idea of this film is admirable, and the jokes sometimes work. Most of all, it shows that fathers play an important role in their children’s lives just as much as mothers do.

The Bad:

The film will only appeal to kids for the most part, and they probably wouldn’t even want to watch it more than once. The jokes just don’t hit the adults like they should, and only a few people can really connect with the characters on screen because the way the real world is portrayed is grossly over-the-top.

Memorable Quote:

Marvin: I’m your daddy. [wheeze] I’m not your daddy! I’m your baby’s daddy! Er – I’m not your *baby’s* daddy! I’m gonna be… I mean, I’m-a… I’m-a… I’m…

Phil: You’re Marvin…

Marvin: …Marvin.


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