The Pacifier

Bomb Rating: 

Some movies are so badly written that they make me want to cry. Other movies, like "The Pacifier," are written in such a way that I'd like to gouge out my tear ducts with a fork.

Vin Diesel, who looks like he checked the "acting optional" box on his latest contract, plays Navy S.E.A.L. Shane Wolfe. After a mission goes bad, he's assigned to protect a family from possible assassination while the mother, Julie (Faith Ford), goes abroad to spend several weeks guessing the password for her late husband's safety deposit box. This little excursion makes absolutely no sense other than to give Diesel time alone with the kids.

The sad thing about the film's writers is that they seem completely unaware that their plot is more predictable than a sunrise, so they actually add more dialogue and more plot points until even Jessica Simpson could make the proper connections. So, for instance, if the fact that the children's principal (Lauren Graham) is making googly-eyes at Shane from the moment she first meets him isn't enough to establish a love connection, she explains shortly thereafter that she used to be in the Navy. If anybody in this world could distinguish between Diesel's serious face and his orgasm face, I think the consensus would be that he definitely exhibits signs of the orgasm face at that moment.

Even though Julie explains that her husband was always on assignment and rarely home, they somehow managed to conceive five children, all of whom exhibit a level of precociousness on the fantasy child scale that's just slightly below Webster on an overdose of Ritalin. Despite the natural conflict between a group of rowdy kids and a Navy S.E.A.L, the writers shift Shane from hard-hearted war veteran to loving father figure who suddenly believes there's "more" to life thanks to a litany of baby poo jokes and diaper changing fiascos.

The film's main antagonist is Vice Principal Murney (Brad Garrett), who seems to have a death wish and challenges Shane to a wrestling match. This again is an example of the writers' desperation as they force the audience to await Murney's inevitable humiliation.

The last straw for me was having to watch the kids hug repeatedly toward the end. The writers need us to know they love each other. Getting a group of siblings to hug simultaneously is about as easy as getting Michael Eisner to lick Jeffrey Katzenberg's crotch. It just doesn't happen and when it does, you can be pretty sure that mood-altering drugs are involved.

Oh, I was pacified all right, right into unconsciousness.

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