The Pacifier


Directed by: Adam Shankman
Written by:Thomas Lennon, Ben Garant
Starring: Vin Diesel, Lauren Graham, Faith Ford, Brittany Snow, Max Thieriot, Brad Garrett
Released: March 24, 2005
Grade: C+

If you’re there for the opening credits, you’ll see the “Walt Disney Pictures” logo before the opening credits start rolling.  It should therefore come as no surprise to see that The Pacifier is one of the most unoriginal films of 2005.  Every plot development seems borrowed/stolen from another film.  Think Kindergarten Cop.  Think Daddy Day Care.  Think Home Alone.

Vin Diesel plays Shane Wolfe, a top-notch Navy SEAL.  To introduce us to Wolfe, the film takes on a daring rescue mission where he kills the enemy and rescues a renowned scientist, Dr Howard Plummer.  I guess the movie gets away with a PG rating because those being killed were the “Serbian rebels” and the camera lens avoids any of the actual killings.  On completing the assignment, Wolfe makes one error in judgement in letting Dr Plummer call his wife and kids to let them know he’s ok.  Unfortunately, they are then set upon by more attackers and that’s all we get to see.

We then skip Wolfe’s rehabilitation in hospital and rejoin the story to see his release.  Dr Plummer was killed and Wolfe learns why they were after him.  The good doctor was working on a top secret computer program which assist the U.S. military but could be deadly in the wrong hands.  Unfortunately for the Serbians, they did not find anything in the suitcase that Dr Plummer was carrying at the time.

The wife of Dr Plummer, Julie (Ford), receives word that her late husband had a safety deposit box with a Swiss bank.  Thinking this may hold the answers to the project, she travels to Switzerland under the close watch of an army captain.

This ridiculous series of events finally sets the crux of film.  Wolfe has to guard Mrs Plummer’s children while she’s overseas.  Here’s just a sample of the questions I had at this point.  Why was he picked as the right man for this job?  Why was he assigned this position with absolutely no back up?  How did he assemble all his alarms and gizmos in no time at all?  Why weren’t these kids being protected during the 2 months whilst Wolfe was in hospital?

What happens is exactly as you’d expect.  The five children hate Wolfe and don’t react well to his authority.  They set booby-traps for him, try to sneak out of the house and even throw a wild party.  Wolfe doesn’t want to be there either since he has no kids, cares little for them and can’t even change a diaper.  Lo and behold, the two weeks they spend together changes their lives.  Oh yes, and wait till you see who’s responsible for the final attack – it’s those damn North Koreans!  Sigh.

It’s a strange career choice for Vin Diesel but at least he’s making an effort to break away from his action-hero stereotype.  He gets a few laughs but don’t expect much.  For Everybody Loves Raymond star Brad Garrett, the death bells are ringing on his cinematic career.  As the vice principal of the school the Plummer children attend, his character was as bad as it gets.

Kids will surely get a laugh out of The Pacifier.  Adults won’t be quite as lucky.