Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant are two of the lead actors and co-creators of the popular Comedy Central series, "Reno 911", which follows a group of bumbling Reno, NV police officers. In my opinion, it's one of the funniest shows on TV, and just keeps getting better as it goes on. However, the two are also responsible for writing "Taxi" and "The Pacifier" - the first being one of the worst films of 2004 that I saw, and the second being one of the more dismal I've seen of the pictures released in 2005.
"The Pacifier" stars Vin Diesel as Lt. Shane Wolf, a Navy SEAL who had previously lead a series of famed assaults and rescues. When the scientist he had been assigned to protect (Tate Donovan) gets killed during the rescue, he's assigned to protect his wife (Faith Ford) and her kids (including Brittany Snow and Morgan York). The project that the scientist was working on is also still somewhere in the house.
The picture is obviously meant to shift Diesel to a wider audience, but the film is just too poor a reproduction of "Kindergarden Cop" to work. The comedy is lowbrow, with a few poop jokes and scattered bad gags. There's also a lot of filler, such as having Brad Garrett ("Everybody Loves Raymond") portray a rough teacher at the kids' school, who Diesel has to wrestle in one scene late in the picture. A few action moments are scattered in the middle of the film, seemingly to try and wake up the audience.
Admittedly, once the kids get through the whole cliche of hating Shane and start liking the guy, the film actually achieves a bit of sweetness. Still, the film seems long at 90 minutes and Diesel seems to be pretty uncomfortable with the role and comedy in general (his chemistry with co-star Lauren Graham, who is supposed to be the "romantic interest", is laughable.) Worse yet, the film's ending is incredibly predictable.
Overall, "The Pacifier" simply isn't very funny at all. I chuckled once or twice (after crazy driving, the younger daughter jumps out and yells, "Land!", which was already shown in the trailer), but the rest of the movie was largely a black hole of filler and scrambled action/comedy.
VIDEO: "The Pacifier" is presented by Disney in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The presentation was more than adequate, as, aside from the opening sequence and some moments towards the end, this is shot like and looks like a sitcom. Sharpness and detail aren't exceptional, but the picture did appear crisp and detailed, with a consistent level of definition.
Some minor edge enhancement and shimmer was spotted, but no pixelaton or print flaws were seen. Colors remained bright and vivid, with no smearing or other concerns.
SOUND: The film's first scene and last moments have some action and put the surrounds to moderately effective use to deliver some nice effects. However, the majority of the rest of the movie is mainly a comedy and, as such, the film's sound mix largely folds up to the front. Audio quality was fine, with crisp dialogue, a few nice instances of sound effects use and a well-recorded (although rather generic) score.
EXTRAS: The film offers a fairly decent-sized set of supplements, including: an audio commentary from director Adam Shankman, two "on the set" featurettes, the trailer and promos for other titles from the studio.
Final Thoughts: "The Pacifier" tries to force Vin Diesel into fitting in a family comedy, and although the results have a few nice moments, the majority of the movie just isn't funny. The DVD offers fine audio/video quality and a good helping of supplements. Fans may want to check out the DVD, but I'd recommend others to skip it.