We cheated a little this week. Alien From L.A. was a really hard movie to find, and we are currently waiting for it via e-bay. So, instead of just waiting around, we figured we'd skip it and come back to it when it arrived. So Daddy Day Camp it was.
Both Chris and I cringed when we saw this one on the list. Well, we cringed at almost every movie on the list, but you know, I have to tell a story here, so just amuse me. We all know how Eddie Murphy has been doing bad movie after bad movie, so when he decided to pass on this sequel to his smash hit (I kid) Daddy Day Care, you have to wonder just how bad the script was.
Instead, Cuba Gooding Jr. reprises the role of "Daddy" and after watching the preview for this movie, I was honestly expecting the worst. By worse, I don't mean Bolero worse, as nothing will ever have as profound a negative effect on my life as this movie has. And if you don't want to just take my word for it, ask Christie, I think it affected her even more. That movie makes me angry now, but really, I should learn to let go...
So Daddy Day Camp starts off with unfunny jokes in an over the top situation at the day care where all of Hell's kids come to stay while Lucifer goes to work. So, in the beginning it appears that it is going to be a real bore of a movie loaded with bad slapstick comedy. But was surprises me as the movie gets going is there are a few memorable moments that honestly made me laugh and smile. Those early chuckles had Christie saying we could no longer be friends. As the film moved along, she warmed up to the idea that this movie wasn't really that terrible.
Yes, we've seen this type of movie a thousand times. Run down camp (or business, or club, or whatever) with a bunch of loveable losers who have to worry about a more successful camp (or business, or club, or whatever) that is trying to buy them out. And of course, there is money issues, and it all comes down to a competition that will make or break our heros' day. I think my favourite part of this film is when there is that initial spark of competition between the two camps. Not because it was clever, or particularly well written. It was the fact that it was at that moment that line that broke Christie was delivered...
"You won't last a month," Lance (played by Lochlyn Munro), the owner of the successful camp says to our hero Charlie. The, all tough looking and with attitude, Lance's son (played by Sean Patrick Flaherty) adds: "Yeah. Thirty-one days. Or 30. Except for February, which stands alone." Granted, that doesn't sound overly funny, but the delivery of the line was spot on. The kid has a few other lines like that which cracked me up. Although, my favourite line was when the dorky kid who is trying to impress the pretty girl starts talking about World of Warcraft, and he states "I'm a Level 40 Blood Elf Druid" when she clearly has no clue what WoW is. Ah, funny.
Movies with so many kids live or die by the casting, and I think Daddy Day Camp did a pretty good job here. The brainy young girl, the nerdy kid with a love guru younger brother, the cute pukey kid, and the smart ass kid of the bad guy all played their parts really well, and honestly, it's these little actors that made the movie watchable for me. But what could have been a decent movie overall was ruined in the last quarter of the movie as there were non-stop hearltfelt scenes with soft music and all. We get it, you're trying to teach us life lessons. Groan! One or maybe two of these moments would have been more than enough. I lost count after 6 or 7.
There was also the climax which was the big competition. Yes, we all know the good guys are going to win, but the director didn't even try to make us feel like they might not. It was very lame and uninteresting to say the least. To be honest, I was enjoying the movie until the sappy stuff started just before the competition which ended up being a bore.
IMDb Rating: 2.5
JF's Rating: 5 (Would have gone as high as 6 had the cut out half of the "emotional" scenes at the end)
Christie's Rating: 5 (She turned around, and realized that compared to what we have seen so far, this one was pretty good)
Turn off point: There were none. Perhaps at the end when it got really boring and you knew what was going to happen and you were watching it on TV you might switch the channel knowing you weren't going to miss anything of importance.
Until next time, let's hope there's an alien in the mailbox.