‘Daddy’ is probably the cleanest movie you’ll ever see – its G-rated antics make the stuff in last year’s “Scooby-Doo” seem pornographic in comparison. Its so clean that in one moment in the movie when Eddie Murphy makes a superannuation entendre to his wife as this is the first time they’ve been alone together in a while, it makes the audience feel kind of dirty – that’s how kiddie safe this flick is. The comedy, what little there is of it, is inane and will barely squeeze more than a twitter out of a pre-schooler let alone adults. What few gags there are usually come at the expense of Jeff Garlin getting hit in a sensitive area or two.
More Disney than Disney even, the material may be as limp as a wet rag, but the performers are quite likable – Murphy and Garlin do make a decent team and which helps the disgustingly sentimental bits become somewhat manageable. Zahn and Houston do average work as a Star Trek-obsessed geek and a rival school mistress but the pair have done so much better work its a real shame they’ve been reduced to this. Kevin Nolan is just annoying beyond reason as the braggart co-worker. On a production level it all feels very recycled – especially the score which uses classic movie themes to 80’s songs with little effect. Pacing is slow but not too bad, and for a kids film the visual look is better than expected.
In a time when kids films have gone high concept and turned into big flashy epics along the lines of “Spy Kids” and “Cody Banks”, its nice to see a film more reliant on real life than silly escapism but the filmmakers should have done so much more to give the parents something vaguely interesting to watch as well. At least the story could be something better than a B-movie direct to video family film which is both cheaper and a better option for the little ones. When the highlight of the movie is Eddie Murphy dressed up in a giant broccoli outfit one has to wonder just how how far some people can sink.