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DADDY DAY CARE

It doesn’t get much weirder than Eddie Murphy’s now-complete transformation into a family-friendly comic actor. Kids are supposed to be listening to their secret copy of Delirious, not getting corralled into screenings of Daddy Day Care. Steve Carr, who also directed Murphy in Dr. Dolittle 2, does a serviceable job with this time waster for tots, but there’s no magic and little laughter. Murphy’s Charlie is a big-shot marketing guy who loses his job and is stuck home with his son after he can no longer afford his town’s only reputable pre-school — the kind of place where the kids wear uniforms, foreign languages are taught, and Anjelica Huston, looking a little like a dominatrix, is in charge. Making the most of a bad situation, Murphy and fellow unemployed buddy Phil (Jeff Garlin of Curb Your Enthusiasm fame) start Daddy Day Care and immediately enroll a number of children each with one, and only one, personality trait. The film’s lesson that spending time with kids is more rewarding than a marketing job is a good one, but let’s hope it doesn’t work too well — Hollywood needs future marketers to peddle mediocrity like this. Steve Zahn also collects a paycheck.

BY MARK BAZER

Issue Date: May 9 - 15, 2003
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