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Grand-Daddy Day Care
So I think Universal's Grand-Daddy Day Care may be the final part of an unwanted trilogy? Follow me for a second; there was 2003's Daddy Day Care with Eddie Murphy, then 2007's Daddy Day Camp with Cuba Gooding Jr. Now there's this one, and I'd imagine a Grand-Daddy Day Camp isn't far away. Or maybe it is and that's the idea, to make people forget about these things.
Robbie Fox (In the Army Now) and David Steinberg wrote the screenplay that Ron Oliver directed. It tells the story of Frank (Reno Wilson, Officer Downe), a bestselling author who hasn't had a hit in a while. He and his wife take in his father in law Eduardo (Danny Trejo, Machete), recently released from prison but also got his degree while he was in jail. Struggling to pay the bills, he comes across a circumstance where he can take in not only Eduardo, but some of the other elderly people in the neighborhood and serve as a social club for the day. Voila, "Grand Daddy Day Care" is born. The way it seeks to continue the bloodline is to seek out the owners of the permit for "Daddy Day Care" in order to avoid any licensing issues that could result in shutdown. And the social services department tries to do so however they can. Frank tries to fend them off while making enough money to pay some bills that may foreclose his house.
So yeah, the premise of the movie is dumb. There are a couple of positives though; first off is that 13-year-old me did get a chance to marvel at how some of the television actors from ‘70s and ‘80s shows look nowadays. There was Hal Linden (Barney Miller), Julia Duffy (Newhart), Garrett Morris (Martin), Barry Bostwick (Spin City), Linda Gray (Dallas) and George Wendt (Cheers). And I think the latter was probably hanging around anyway before someone invited him on, but that's beside the point. Having some of these folks on screen was a nice trip down memory lane for a second.
The other was Trejo's performance. Sometimes it was goofy to match the source material, but his character goes through a small transformation that is kind of bad to view initially, but eventually he gets the hang of it to the point where the clunky execution has some authenticity to it. You see this badass dude get feeble and weak, and you laugh because of how bad it is, but he wins you over to a degree with it, and that's a credit to his skills. Disarming as it was to see a smartwatch on his wrist, he was the best part of the movie.
I'm trying to do what I can to avoid talking about Grand-Daddy Day Care as much as possible because well, it's what you think it is. The jokes aren't that funny, Wilson is supposed to carry the film but for some reason doesn't feel compelled to go over the top on some of the material that needs it, and the elderly actors go over the top and/or use a dumb joke when a dumb joke isn't needed, everything is telegraphed a mile away in the story, you get the idea. The story throws a bunch of things to the wall and never stays focused; Frank's son is going through a gangster rap/80s independent music vibe and feelings for a girl that may or may not pan out? Given the Day Care backdrop you'd think more attention would be paid to the youngs in his movie but guess not. And as far as the super olds go, they thought it was a Farrelly movie or something but never lost the decency standard that made it convincing. Linden came close, but that's about it.
Is the strategy behind the "Care Trilogy" as I'll call it, to make these every half decade or longer to the point that they're flat out parody? Does Eddie Murphy know about these and getting his 17 cents of royalties from the films derived from that intellectual property? I don't know the answers to these, but it's clear that with subsequent rapidly inferior products in this vein, someone at Universal has to ask better questions.
1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen which for this is fine. The image is natural and lacks DNR, though one can clearly discern moments when the actors would be in front of a green screen, and I'm not just talking about in a car or other exterior. Black levels are consistent for the most part and the image has a little bit of noise, though nothing to completely deter from viewing. Altogether looks OK.
Dolby Digital 5.1 surround for the Universal jawnt which again is OK, but in the case of the soundtrack, more could have probably been used on it. Dialogue sounds clear though moments of dynamic activity such as an exploding faucet could have packed a little more punch. And in dynamic moments like during an elderly care evacuation, the sound is largely in front of the theater with little channel panning or directional effects. Probably could have been better but wasn't.
Nothing, but given the material probably for the best.
With something like Grand-Daddy Day Care, you sort of know what to expect going into it. That said, you still need to brace yourself for jokes that aren't funny, character developments that are dumb (and this disbelief is visible onscreen), and stories that are nearly unendurable. So you look for the nuances, and I think I found a couple, but they aren't enough to save this dog. Move on by.