A review of “The Pacifier” by Jeanne Aufmuth

 

Stars: *

Rating: PG for action violence and crude language and humor

Run Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

 

 

Vin Diesel, kiss your shaky career goodbye. Nothing spells professional suicide like stooping to animals and children.

Diesel is embarrassingly true to form as Lt. Shane Wolf, a crack Navy Seal who attempts to rescue a brilliant scientist kidnapped by a group of Serbian rebels.  The job is botched and said scientist loses his life.

Unfortunately his secrets die with him and the military needs his grieving spouse (Faith Ford as Julie Plummer) up front and center at a Swiss bank to unlock a private safety deposit box and the mysteries of a hidden high altitude transmitter.  Leaving Shane in the unenviable position of babysitting her five unruly children.

The Plummer kids are in for a rude awakening.  Shane’s motto “My way, no highway option” means domestic boot camp for the smart-aleck teens and their tiny tot siblings.  It’s not a job, it’s an adventure!

Brief flashes of Diesel’s former cool self (sentimental memories of Boiler Room) punctuate his unceremonious fall from grace; mentoring cookie-pushing Fireflies in the fine arts of hand-to-hand combat in order to dispatch a band of sinister Boy Scouts, directing a painfully adolescent performance of “The Sound of Music” (you had to be there) and dealing with the daily deeds of dirty diapers and spit-up.  

Grade-school melodrama culminates in a fevered climax that breeds racist stereotypes and warm and fuzzy changes of heart (guess whose?).  Script is relatively lifeless, a non-issue considering the narrative’s outlandish premise and a cast peppered with second-rate TV talent (Ford, Lauren Graham, Brad Garrett, etc.).

Career low: Diesel getting down with the Peter Panda dance. Take your paycheck, man, and slink off into the sunset.