What really helped Vin Diesel in The Pacifier was his supporting cast. Sure, he did a passable job of being a no nonsense navy seal, but in my humble opinion, I think that the producers of this film really helped him out by having Lauren Graham, Brad Garret and some very good young actors on his side. Granted, these actors are only in the film few a handful of scenes each, but when they are on screen, they seem to add a validity to Diesel’s character. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I think Diesel is a bad actor, I just think he is somewhat limited in the roles he can play. Truthfully, I am surprised. This is an actor that first got his start in movies like Boiler Room and Saving Private Ryan. Now, I know that these are not down and dirty, made for a dime, there was no film in the camera indies, but I think one would agree that there is an artfulness to these movies that is noticeably absent from say XXX.
I liked The Pacifier. I don’t know what it is, maybe there was a certain charm to Diesel’s character, maybe the solid supporting cast made this movie better, I can’t say for sure. Truthfully, I didn’t see this movie until I was asked to review it on DVD. Although, strangely, I remember being happy for Diesel and Co. when this movie made $30 million over it’s opening weekend. Some people might say, ”Of course it did well, it’s a kids movie, those always make money.” This however isn’t always the case and the fact that this movie did over $100 million dollars says to me that there had to be at least something there.
Outrageous Bloopers, Deleted Scenes and Special Ops TV Commercials
The blooper reel moved a little too quick for my tastes. There is some funny stuff here but for the most part I wasn’t in on the joke. In fact, it seems odd to me that there would be a blooper reel on a kids movie that is so hard to follow as far as the laughs are concerned. The there are 5 deleted scenes which are “Shane and Gary”, “Ribbit”, “Kickball”, “Wrestling Practice” and “Speed Trap”. These scenes don’t seem any better or worse then anything that made it into the actual movie, and me thinks that they were most likely cut for time purposes. Overall, I didn’t think any of these scenes were that bad. I, for some reason, thought the Special Ops TV commercials would actually be mock Special Ops commercials. What I got were a slew of commercials for a movie which I had already screened.
On the Set With Vin Diesel
I don’t know that Vin Diesel would ever admit his real reasons for doing this movie. Not that his intentions were bad (and mind you, this is all conjecture on my part), but something tells me he didn’t take the role of Lt. Shane Wolfe because he felt it would net him an Independent Spirit award. This piece mainly shows him being a big softy, who loves kids and isn’t really like many of the rough and tough characters he’s played.
On the Set With Brad Garret
The producers of this movie seemed to let Brad Garret go. While the role he’s playing doesn’t seem altogether different from the role he did on “Everybody Loves Raymond”, I don’t think people mind that much. He is a genuinely funny man. He never seems to go for the easy laugh and his delivery is such that you buy his performance. On the set, he seemed to always be having a good time and he seems like a star that would really be a lot of fun to work with.
Audio Commentary with The Director
The commentary includes Director Adam Shankman and writers Thomas Lennon & Robert Ben Garant. I have decided that I really like the commentary tracks on kids movies. I don’t know what it is but the adults seem to be having a good time, and it never seems like they take anything too seriously. They jokingly call this movie “guerilla filmmaking” and they make mention of how this movie was “put on credit cards”, all of which couldn’t be further from the truth. My favorite line was when the director was asked what was going on in the background of a scene (a bunch of kids are walking in unison), and the director says that it’s the executives from Spyglass which is one of the companies that made this movie. Gotta love the Hollywood humor!
Widescreen (2.35:1) - Enhanced for 16x9 Televisions. This movie is a Disney movie and it’s a kids movie at that. Basically, you aren’t going to get crazy camera angles, insane cutting and all the other stuff that different kinds of films can have. Nor does The Pacifier need it. In telling the tale of a Navy Seal assigned to protect a family, there are certainly artistic choices to be made. When you are working toward the lowest common denominator, four quadrant film all those crazy camera moves and film language sort of get in the way. The transfer on this DVD almost sparkles in it’s clarity. That’s one thing you can always count on with Disney movies, the mood, if nothing else, is always going to be brightly lit and colorful.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. I think I have stated this in my other reviews, but Disney movies, more then any of the movies that I have the opportunity to write about, seem to incorporate music that pushes the audience in one direction or another. For example, when Diesel addresses the kids about the fact that he’s going to have be leaving, we hear a nice assortment of wind and string instruments that do their best to evoke a mood of sadness. Again, I know that this is a Disney movie, but I really wonder if the audience needs this much help. Aren’t the facial expressions and low tones of the children enough to tell us what we should be feeling? Is it ever possible that during the movie, audiences might be lead to have different feelings? Okay, I know we are dealing with apples and oranges but I just find that’s one thing that really wears me out when I watch a movie like this. Being told how to think and feel every moment.
I remember Diesel getting a lot of flack for this movie. Mainly because here was Mr. Action Star doing a nice kids flick. Then you have the cover of this movie (which is also the same as the cover of the one-sheet) in which Diesel stands looking tough, holding baby accessories. The back cover features more pictures from the movie, a description of the film, a special features listing and technical specifications. What I love is the quote by Jim Svejda for KNX/CBS radio. His quote says ”Vin Diesel’s Best Movie Ever!” Now, is that really accurate? Might he have been better served to write something like, ”Vin Diesel’s best movie of his short career!!” Or something along those lines?
This movie basically resurrected Diesel as a box office draw. It extended his career which seemed to be losing steam quickly. When you go from an unknown mysterious presence, to having absolutely no mystique, that is a problem. For the most part I found Diesel’s performance in The Pacifier (and the movie in general) to be above average. I believed in the bond that he developed with the kids, and there are moments like when he’s driving a mini-van and the little girls are singing, that are just priceless in how cute they are.
Now, would I own this movie? probably not. Would I watch it again? Most likely no. However, as a rental, or for parents that need a film that their kids might watch continuously, The Pacifier is for you.
The Pacifier was released March 4, 2005.