review for The Pacifier on AllMovie

The Pacifier (2005)
by Derek Armstrong review

At least now we know why Vin Diesel turned down the sequels to The Fast and the Furious and XXX. Instead of further entrenching himself as an action star, albeit at the B level, the notoriously choosy actor apparently wanted to make a weak retread of Kindergarten Cop, to follow up the failure of The Chronicles of Riddick. The best thing about The Pacifier is undoubtedly its title, a double entendre encapsulating both a military type who makes order out of chaos, and a plastic nipple used to quiet children. Too bad that when the word actually appears in the movie, it's as the name of a wrestling move Diesel uses to humiliate the obnoxious vice principal (Brad Garrett) of the children's school. The movie is filled with predictable clashes between discipline and diapers, infantry and infants, none of it very subtle. In fact, the viewer is placed on warning from the first moments, when Diesel's Shane Wolf leads a mission in which he offers his subordinates this needless summary: "We are SEALs, and this is what we do." If this is meant to define "Navy SEAL" for toddlers, then that gives some indication what audience Disney is targeting. It also begs the question why the rescue sequence that follows is so violent. Of the children, only the younger daughter (Morgan York) really connects. Filling out the cast, in addition to Garrett's regrettable contribution are Carol Kane as a hideous stereotype of an Eastern European nanny; Lauren Graham as the school's principal, whose undeveloped "love interest" role is utterly perfunctory; and Faith Ford as the mom, whom the plot strands in Switzerland, blindly guessing at passwords for her husband's safe-deposit box. Add another forgettable populist comedy to the resumé of director Adam Shankman.