CinemaDave (cinemadave) wrote,

"The Pacifier" - 46 million dollars may prove mainstream critics wrong

Despite negative reviews from the mainstream media.,
"The Pacifier" has earned over 46 million dollars in
box office gross receipts after two weeks. Most critics denigrated
Vin Diesel's performance, the Walt Disney formula for
story lines made out of syrup, and random acts of
slapstick violence. What these mainstream urban
elitist critics missed was the film maker's tribute to
everyday heroism of being a parent.

"The Pacifier" opens with the upgraded Disney logo
and features sinister military music. When the musical
chords subtly shift to Jiminy Cricket's "When you Wish
upon a Star," the tone for fun has been set. With the
panache of a James Bond opening action sequence, Navy
Seal Shane Wolfe (Diesel) rescues a brilliant
Professor of military technology. The rescue attempt
is successful, but the Professor is shot by a mole in
the military organization.

Given the top secret nature of the Professor's work,
Shane is reassigned as a protector to the Professor's
widow and five children. The widow (Faith Ford) is
flown to Switzerland in an effort to unlock a Swiss
safe. Shane must contend with a rebellious daughter
(Brittany Snow), a blond hair-blue eyed conflicted son
(Max Theriot) and a middle school aged girl scout (
Morgan York) who develops a crush on Shane. The lean
mean fighting machine must also contend with a brother
and sister who are not potty trained. Shane learns
that being a surrogate father these days is as
important as hunting terrorists.

"The Pacifier" thrives as a comedy when it matches
cliched movie action violence with the rigors of daily
domestic duties. When Shane changes the baby's diaper,
it is performed with the same intensity of defusing a
bomb. Avoiding the tardy bell necessitates in a wild
car chase in the spirit of "Bullitt" and "The French
Connection." These scenes are so comically
exaggerated that most people will appreciate

Director Adam Shankman needs to be commended for
directing the action sequences. by avoiding the
hyperactive editing style, "The Pacifier" features
some fight scenes done in the tongue in cheek style of
Jackie Chan. The action occurs in the frame of the
lens and the actors performance is the better for it.

Each actor is given a moment to shine in "The
Pacifier." Being the film's ring master, Vin Diesel
balances the brutal intensity of being a Navy Seal
with goofiness of singing nursery rhymes. Brad Garrett
("Everybody Loves Raymond's" Big Brother) is a civil
servant bully who has a redemptive moment in the last
frame of the movie. Lauren Graham is too pretty to be
the principal of the children's school, but she proves
to equal partner for Shane's romantic distractions. As
the Plummer Children, Brittany Snow and Max Thieriot
are given the most dramatic roles. Both actors cover
the heart of the story that makes the transition from
troubled teens to assertive young adults.

So what is the final verdict on "The Pacifier?"
I know that I went into the movie in a bad mood. When I
departed theatre, I was in a better mood. The
afternoon crowd of family ticket buyers shared the
same sensibility and applauded the film's climax.
Sometimes mainstream elitist critics do not understand
the power of a movie with positive themes and a sense
of humor.
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