DVD Reviews | Jul 15th, 2005
Starring Vin Diesel, Faith Ford, Carol Kane, Lauren Graham, Brad Garrett
Written By: Thomas Lennon & Ben Garant
Directed By: Adam Shankman
Studio: Buena Vista
Buy on Amazon.com
I’m really not sure what to make of this one. Nothing new, nothing to exciting. Almost too scripted and predictable. If you like the XXX or Riddick flicks, don’t expect much from baldy bad-ass Vin Diesel here. Diesel plays Navy SEAL Lt. Shane Wolfe who essentially screws up a rescue mission by letting himself and the father of the family he must then take care of get shot. The father, Howard Plummer, who is a government scientist played by Tate Donovan, dies and Diesel’s character spends some time recovering. Only to be assigned the duties of taking care of the Plummer family while his wife, Julie, played by the typically air-headed Faith Ford, must travel overseas to help uncover the secret military device Howard was working on.
The movie starts off rather well. You follow Lt. Wolfe’s story as the doomed mission unfolds. Some good stunts and effects and cheesy muscle head dialog to enjoy. Soon after, the mission continues in a nice neighborhood full of kids and Americana. You can almost write the movie yourself as of this point if you’ve seen enough of them. Take any out of place character and plop him into a role suitably different from his everyday norm and chaos ensues. Add a few obnoxious kids and typical teenage behavior and you have an adaptation of Mr. Mom, Mr. Belvedere and My Two Dads all rolled into one. The addition of Carol Kane as the maid, who leaves half way through the film unexpectedly, was hilarious. It was almost reminiscent of her role in The Princess Bride. She plays Helga, a witchy, European house maid with a piercing voice. Some more comic relief brought in by none other than Brad Garrett, who plays the washed up jock-want to be – school coach and vice principal. He rides the kids pretty hard and Diesel’s character shows him who’s boss.
Eventually you do start to connect with Diesel’s character as he learns how to deal with every day normal living and watch as he fumbles through a romance with the local school principal played by Lauren Graham. Another supporting role but necessary to humanize Wolfe. It was either her or the Mom (Ford) – and that just wouldn’t be right after he let the kid’s Dad get whacked by terrorists!
There are a few plot twists that are uncovered easily. The movie is geared towards kids and family so they had to make it somewhat easy to follow. There are some humorous parts and some good lines that I found my own kids repeating so it was a hit with a younger crowd. However if you are looking for a serious action adventure this isn’t it. If you want good family entertainment that you can actually sit through and stomach for an hour plus, then this is a good choice.
Bloopers & deleted scenes
On the Set w/ Vin Diesel & Brad Garrett
Audio commentary with the director
Special TV commercial
English, Dolby 5.1,
Enhanced Widescreen 16:9 aspect
Running Time: 95 minutes