The Pacifier Adam Shankman

The Pacifier Adam Shankman
Did Are We There Yet fail to satisfy your craving for unwilling fathers humiliated by bratty children? Lucky for you, Vin Diesel is here to satiate your need.

In The Pacifier, he plays Shane Wolf, a disgraced Navy SEAL who's assigned to protect a dead scientist's dysfunctional family. When mother Faith Ford goes out of town for mechanical plot reasons, Shane is stuck doing diaper changes and counseling truant teenagers. He's not used to the whole family thing but he does know a thing or two about discipline and runs the house like a military unit, until he learns how to be more sensitive and stop stepping in dirty diapers.

The studio is clearly trying to position Diesel as Arnold Schwarzenegger and the film as his Kindergarten Cop, but they're not fooling anybody — even that mediocre film was better handled than this slapdash afterthought. The jokes are aimed squarely at people who go "whoooa" when someone gets kicked in the nuts, or enjoy young children being precocious and sassy, and they're backed up by some tender moments that are as mawkish as they are devoid of conviction. And your eyes will pop out of their sockets when they introduce a wildly inappropriate gotcha involving a Nazi armband.

They treat us like we've never seen a movie before, just like director Adam Shankman acts like he's never directed one before. It's hard to think of a film as badly timed and hideously shot as this one, unless one thinks back to Are We There Yet. Something about this plot seems to attract hacks, which suggests they ought to hurry up and retire it, though the lively response at my public screening sadly suggests that ain't gonna happen. (Disney/Buena Vista)