When Eddie Murphy can manage to pull it back a few feet he can make a very good comedy. This is what happened in Daddy Day Care, a fun little movie the whole family can enjoy even if there are a couple of jokes based on number 1 and number 2.
The premise is simple: Put a funny actor with a bunch of kids and see what happens. This old formula has worked most of the time, including for Arnold Schwarzenegger, and it works again. This time, Eddie Murphy plays an advertising guy who loses his job and ends up running a day care center with his pal.
Of course, there has to be some conflict. At the beginning, it is the fact two men want to start a day care center, then it is the guys coping with the kids, and finally it is a war with the Anjelica Huston character, Miss Harridan, who runs preschool that even teaches 3 year-olds how to prepare for the SAT test. There is obviously a bit of social commentary there.
This is a great ensemble cast performance where Murphy does not try to run over the competition and is actually likeable as a young father with some important decisions to make. Unfortunately, Laura Kightlinger is underused as one of the mothers.
Of course, this is predictable fare. Still, the gags are funny, including one involving removing a bees' nest, especially when Harridan tries to sabotage the fundraiser for the expanded day care center. Fans of Star Trek will also appreciate the Marvin character (as in Marvin the Martian) who is a big Trekkie but is also gold with the kids.
This is a fun little movie the whole family can enjoy and that the parents will not sleep through or overdose on the sugary content.