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The Pacifier (PG)



Review by: Jack Foley | Rating: One

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Deleted scenes. Blooper Reel. Brad Garrett: Unpacified. On Set with Mr Diesel: Action Hero/Nice Guy. Audio Commentary.

GIVEN The Pacifier's apparent obsession with excrement, it's little wonder to find that a foul smell hangs over much of what this so-called family comedy has to offer.

Vin Diesel stars as 'the pacifier' in question, a Navy Seal whose latest mission finds him having to babysit a house full of precocious kids in the hope of preventing a top secret government weapon from falling into the hands of Middle Eastern terrorists.

The house belongs to a former military scientist (Tate Donovan), who was ruthlessly killed during a botched rescue attempt during the film's ludicrous opening action sequence.

Hence, while the family's mother is away sorting out her husband's affairs, Seal team-leader, Shane Wolf (Diesel), volunteers to look after the children, genuinely believing that he can prevent more tragedy befalling them.

Yet while Wolf is a tough disciplinarian with his military personnel, he is ill-prepared for the rigours of child-care, continually falling foul of the kids' attempts to embarrass him, while struggling to cope with the numerous nappy changes that need doing.

The ensuing comedy unfolds like a tame cross between Three Men And A Baby and Kindergarten Cop, as Diesel gradually overcomes the obstacles placed before him to bond with the children and serve as their protector.

The Pacifier struggles from the outset to escape its feeling of over-familiarity but is let down completely by its crass sense of humour and bad taste jokes.

Viewers will probably lose count of the number of times Diesel finds himself having to deal with excrement, while the children themsevles do little to endear themselves to the audience.

What's more, the film seems to take a perverse delight in humiliating its central star, even though he possesses enough charisma to emerge relatively unscathed.

It's biggest problem, however, is the mixed message it seems to be sending parents - that discipline is necessary, but usually if accompanied by violence.

Diesel's rugged action hero only really succeeds in winning the children's respect when beating up bullies or laying into home invaders, which presents all manner of complications for younger viewers who are easily influenced.

Given the number of reality-nanny programmes currently hitting our TV screens about obnoxious and violent children, does Hollywood really need to be feeding them this?

So while The Pacifier may boast a certain Vin Diesel as its biggest selling point, it remains curiously short on laughing gas.

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