Film Reviews

THE PACIFIER

By • Mar 4th, 2005 •

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QUOTE: A by-the-books Disney family film. If this is what you are looking for, Diesel delivers an easy, goodwill charm. The preview audience embraced it.

Vin Diesel should have made this film five years from now. For whatever reason (artistic control or percentages), after giving up huge paychecks for sequels to THE FAST AND THE FURIOUS and XXX, Diesel now turns his attention to a Disney family comedy. Could Disney have paid Diesel handsomely or does Diesel have a peculiar strategy for his career? According to the teaser trailer, Diesel lets his hair grow and starts acting in his next movie, FIND ME GUILTY.

So, why do a Disney family film? I was one of the few who enjoyed XXX because director Rob Cohen was able to make a sex symbol out of his alter-ego. With THE PACIFIER, Diesel turns his back on his two successful franchises (still retaining PITCH BLACK’S Riddick) and does a retread of KINDERGARDEN COP. It actually works as a harmless family movie because Diesel plays it straight and does not condescend to the comedy.

A highly motivated Navy Seal, Shane (Vin Diesel) Wolfe’s mission is to safeguard the family of a government scientist who was killed during his sea rescue. While the mother (Faith Ford) goes off to Switzerland with Wolfe’s boss to find out what is in her husband’s secret safety deposit box, Wolfe is sent in suburbia to take care of the family of five children. It’s the typical movie family: bratty teenage daughter, sullen teenage son, cute adolescent girl, little boy, and the baby. I liked the way Wolfe related to the kids: He immediately tells them he won’t remember their names and gives them code names Red One through Red Five. He tackles the housekeeper (Carol Kane) when she attempts to leave. Succeeding, He sees it merely as another a military mission. Along the way Wolfe meets the kid’s principal (Lauren Graham) and a chaste romance begins to blossom. This movie had everything it should, but a family dog.

Directed by Adam Shankman with a light hand, THE PACIFIER is a harmless, cute family movie. It’s not MILLION DOLLAR BABY. There is no drama more compelling than a wild pet duck and a messy house. Yet, Diesel brings an easy charm and shows a warm camaraderie with the children. Yes, it is predictable but no one smokes, drinks, or is forced to be buried alive. If you prefer these plot devices, I strongly recommend THE JACKET.

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