Prayer Focus
Movie Review

The Pacifier

MPAA Rating: PG for action violence, language and rude humor

Reviewed by: Lori Souder

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Action, Comedy, Family
1 hr. 31 min.
Year of Release:
Featuring: Vin Diesel, Lauren Graham, Brittany Snow, Carol Kane, Brad Garrett
Director: Adam Shankman
Producer: Roger Birnbaum, Gary Barber, Jonathan Glickman
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Copyright, Walt Disney Pictures
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Prepare for bottle.

Vin Diesel plays a likeable, honest and trustworthy Navy Seal named Shane who is somehow roped into protecting a bunch of undisciplined kids. This farfetched story also stars Lauren Graham as a school principal. She is the rare sane and reasonable voice in “The Pacifier’s” world of unbalanced and improbable characters. The children’s mother is played by Faith Ford. Her character is never developed, all we ever really know about her is that she is a terrible mother, her kids act like animals and are the worst problems at their school—and that she has an Elizabeth Taylor-sized diamond ring.

During the movie’s opening scenes, we observe Shane (Vin Diesel) heading up a team of capable and effective Seals who perform a dangerous and violent rescue at sea. Unfortunately, it is not fully successful. Shane is wounded, and the mission is compromised. Shane feels somewhat responsible for the death of the victim, and is sent on an assignment to protect the children of the man that he let get killed… not exactly the best story line for a light comedy marketed to young children and families.

As the movie progresses, the crude humor and risky behaviors of the children and adults are apparently supposed to be amusing, but I never thought the laughs “kicked-in.” The story had great potential, but the writing was not good quality, and the plot seemed to be drifting at times. If Vin Diesel had not agreed to star in this movie, I doubt it would ever have been made; it is just too trivial and unengaging. There were very few moments that felt like a “pay off.” In other words, I didn’t feel the movie deserved an hour and a half of my time—or anyone’s.

One of the best characters, a tame mallard duck, seemed very comical and interesting, but it was under utilized and not well explained. How many typical suburban families have a duck walking around on their counter tops and coffee tables? I kept waiting for a great duck scene, but it never came. I also noticed that the duck was a robot in at least one scene (I guess the duck had a better offer).

Carol Kane, who plays Helga the babysitter, performed some great physical comedy in the beginning of the movie, but she was all too quickly gone, never to return.

I was surprised that there was so much violence in this PG-rated movie—including destruction of property, cruelty, and some really mean-spirited encounters between adults. The violence alone seems to warrant a PG-13 rating; some young children could be frightened. The story’s main plot is that the children are abandoned (or left) by both their parents and their babysitter (Helga)—and are in grave danger. In addition, they are being protected by a complete stranger who they are supposed to trust with their lives. The mother does not come back when she promises, and the children are subjected to a terrifying home invasion. In my opinion, this movie is not appropriate for children under 12 or so.

Many of the jokes are based on potty humor and crude situations. Some parents may dislike a couple of shots of low slung jeans revealing upper behinds, and two fleeting shots of very young male genitals. There is also some very mild swearing, and the Lord’s name is taken in vain several times.

One of the movies’ worst messages is on the issue of child discipline. Every time the children do something really bad, there are no real consequences.

The movie also sends kids a negative message about driving. In every car driving scene, the drivers fail to use reasonable judgment—endangering all the children’s lives. A teenage driver, who did not go to driver’s training, is forced (for no good reason) to drive the minivan with everyone inside—almost killing the family several times over. I guess this is supposed to be funny. Again, there were no consequences. No matter how terribly the minivan is driven, it never rolls over or is involved in an accident—just constant near misses where everyone walks away unscratched.

I cannot recommend this movie. I was disappointed; the previews included most of the funniest parts—which somehow seemed not so funny, in context. Despite Vin Deisel’s efforts, the film failed to live up to its potential and was barely entertaining. If you want to see it, I recommend that you wait for the DVD release, or better yet, forget all about it.

Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—…This movie is an adorably hilarious movie with a bit of suspense at times—every bit as cute as the previews. It’s rare to find such a moral and overall great movie today, and I would highly recommend it to any audience!
My Ratings: Better than Average/3½
—Caitie, age 47
Neutral—A silly movie with lots of potty humour and way too much violence for young kids. Solution to most problems is to beat up the “bad” guy.
My Ratings: Average/2
—Steve, age 45
Positive—I have read a number of critics’ reviews and they either bashed it, were negative or neutral. To me, the sign of a good movie is you get lost in the story. I went with 4 of my kids, aged 12, 8, 7, 4. They all loved it. So did I. And as a Dad, I typically don’t like a lot of the sappy, so called kids/family movies. It was a fun, enjoyable family movie. And that is what you go to the movies for. Take the family. You will enjoy it…
My Ratings: Good/4
—Brett Rademacher, age 42
Positive—I was expecting worse after reading the Christian Spotlight review. However, I thought it was an okay movie. I took my almost 13 year old daughter and her friend, and they enjoyed it. I was disappointed in the behavior of the character playing the school VP. As an adult character, it was a bit shocking to see the immature and disrespectful way he behaved. I, too, felt that there was more violence than should be for a PG. I was touched by the relationship that develops between the “babysitter” and the children, however. I am personally pretty scrutinizing about what movies are appropriate for my children (and that I) will see. This one is okay for kids 12-13 and up.
My Ratings: Average/3½
—Donna Kester, age 43
Positive—I think that this was a very well made film. I found only a few scenes to be at all offensive. Adults may find the majority of the humor unfunny but for others who enjoy a good laugh some of the things were comic genius. The violence did not look that realistic. Most movies that come out now are very violent and realistic unlike The Pacifier. There were a few unnecessary comments but overall there was nothing that bad for a PG.
My Ratings: Average/4
—anonymous, age 18
Positive—my kids thought it was funny and despite using God’s name in vain a few times and a little bit of violence I thought it was a good movie too!
My Ratings: Better than Average/5
—Liz, age 32
Neutral—I thought the movie was predictable .the beginning had some strong violence for PG rating. The best part of the whole movie is the sign that was held up at the wrestling match that said “John 3:16” someone on the set must love Jesus. Overall it was okay for older kids to view. I would only pay matinee price to see this one.
My Ratings: Average/3
—Paul Alatorre, age 43
Positive—Obviously a movie with Vin Diesel is going to have action and violence in it. However, it is to be applauded that is more slapstick in nature, really no worse than some of the old Laurel and Hardy or Three Stooges films. The plot is hardly plausible, even cheesy at times, yet I knew this going into the film. My twelve year old son laughed heartily at most of the antics, knowing full well it was just for fun. My son and I shared a movie that is fairly clean, not very objectionable, and gave us a springboard to talk about issues in the movie. Such as would a vice principal really be so unprofessional? What can the human body really sustain in physical violence?
My Ratings: Better than Average/3
—PD Webb, age 48
Positive—My family thoroughly enjoyed this movie! My 7 and 9 year old daughters were a little frightened by the “bad guys,” and the reference to Shane’s “boobs” (a word we don’t use) will be discussed today! However, it is very difficult to find a movie that has something for everyone. The Pacifier entertained my whole family, including a 13 year old boy and my husband, who just returned from Iraq. They especially enjoyed the military humor and action. I would definitely recommend this movie, with the warning for the youngest viewers about the “bad guys,” home invasion, etc.
My Ratings: Better than Average/4
—Diane, age 37
Positive—It seemed like it might be cheesy to me, but I ended up loving this movie. It’s very very funny and should be enjoyable for families. Young children may be scared by the death of a parent and there are some fight scenes (none gory or bloody though). The most objectionable thing that I found was the fact that children used violence as a solution and were commended for it (though it was in self defense, but you still may want to address the issue). Still this is definitely a quality family movie, and I would not hesitate to take my kids to see it. Heck, I saw it on a date myself, this is a great movie for everyone regardless of age.
My Ratings: Better than Average/4
—Kat, age 19

Comments from young people
Positive—This movie gets two thumbs up!!! I loved this movie. I do believe there was some objectional parts in this movie, but not much. …in the theater I heard a lot of kids laughing, and I was laughing myself. I think this movie is worth spending your money on and that you will also want to see it again when it comes out on DVD.
My Ratings: Good/4
—Mikael, age 13
Positive—I loved this movie!!!… This movie was very funny. It showed how family’s work together and become closer together. Some people thought the part where they showed the baby’s bottom was offensive, but he was probably only a little younger than a year. This movie was suspenseful, but not too much. I think the movie is perfectly fine for young children unless the parents are over protective. I loved this movie and would suggest it for families.
My Ratings: Good/5
—Tabitha E., age 11
Negative—This movie is a very silly movie. It has a lot of crazy humor. In my opinion this movie has way to much stupidity in it. I would not encourage parents to take their young children to see it. It might give them ideas of things to say and do that parents would rather their children not say and do.
My Ratings: Offensive/2½
—Nikie Anderson, age 16
Positive—it was a hilarious movie and the little kids were really cute there were lots of funny scenes. Yeah, little kids like seven-year-olds are a little too young but overall it was a GREAT movie and I would definitely recommend it!
My Ratings: Better than Average/4½
—Liza, age 13
Positive—Although it was a bit cheesy, it was alright. very little objectional content and well worth the 5 dollars that I paid to see it (at a little known movie theater in our area) overall I thought it was okay. nothing great, nothing terrible. not one you have to risk to see in theaters. I personally liked Mr. nanny better, same sort of plot, a bit older and funnier, and Hulk Hogen was the babysitter… hehe, great movie.
My Ratings: Average/3½
—Daniel Robison, age 16
Positive—This was a wonderful movie. I did not find anything offensive about it. Some people may. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I believe this review of this movie, is awful. It is not very offensive. Their are a couple of things, but most people would find that very funny. I would recommend this movie to everyone! I’m not sure it’s a “childrens” movie per say as they would not really understand the movie or the humor, but it is a great film!
My Ratings: Better than Average/5
—Jennifer, age 16
Positive—I thought is was funny. It was very cheesy but this made it more funny! I sat with some friends while we watched it and made snarky comments through the whole thing but we came out happy with spending 5.00 dollars on it. There were a few objectional parts, but I thought it was little enough to stay with PG rating as they are already using the F-word in PG-13 now, and this movie definitely did not warrant that. The biggest crude thing in the movie was when the little girl made a comment about Shane’s breasts using some crude references. Just for that I definitely thought it was PG. But as that was the only objectional thing in the movie I thought it was okay. At one point the eldest teen is madly driving a minivan through the city trying to lure the police back to her house. I noticed that she didn’t hit anyone during her mad rampage, but I guess it kept it cleaner then having blood all over the car. And she was supposedly trained by a excellent driver (Shane) for those circumstances. Overall, I found the movie funny and only mildly objectionable. Because of the crude humor I wouldn’t take anyone under 10. But it kept me and my friends laughing for a while, and that is all I like movies to do. Overall, I say it is was pretty good but you might wait until it comes out on video.
My Ratings: Average/3
—Chris, age 14
Positive—I thought the movie was really nice, and it would be fine to bring smaller children to it. I saw it with 4 other girls and they all liked it. I don’t know how other teens will like it, as I tend to like silly, sappy movies that other people don’t like. so, if you are a teen, you might want to rent it instead of seeing it in the theater.
My Ratings: Better than Average/3
—Esther B., age 15
Positive—This movie is the must see of the year! It’s a wonderful and touching comedy movie. It’s so sweet to see this military man go protect this family that is in danger and to see the rebellious older kids warm up and respect this guy. Shane Wolfe (Vin Diesel) kind of turned into the dad of this family for a week. It was so sweet and made me cry when the second youngest son (Peter) looks at Shane Wolfe and stares at him and says, “Daddy.” The father of this family died in a terrible accident where someone kidnapped him and he died. Peter is 2 or 3 and is just looking for a “Daddy” again. I can relate to this movie because my dad died just a few months ago and Zoe (the oldest, 15) is sitting out on her balcony with a few tears in her eyes and when Shane gets done putting the littler ones to bed, he was walking through the hallway and he saw that she was upset, so he went out to talk her and she just started crying and she gave him this huge hug. In the beginning, she was very disrespectful to him and she didn’t like talking about the loss of her dad, but she just let loose and hugged Shane. And he, he himself the big macho Military man hugged her back and just comforted her. That was so touching to me…
My Ratings: Better than Average/5
—Chel, age 12
Positive—My parents are really strict about what I see, and my mom almost didn’t let me go to this movie because of the reviews she had read on it. But after going to the Pacifier, I was really glad I had seen it… everything in its review did happen, but I felt it was majorly exaggerated. This movie had far more morals in it than many other “good” movies I’ve seen recently, and it ended on a very positive note. Maybe not appropriate for younger kids, but an excellent movie!!
My Ratings: Better than Average/3½
—Katie, age 15
Positive—I think it was a GREAT MOVIE! Time and time again, when a good movie is made, it shows that it does not have to be made with sex and lots and cussing. I think it was a good action movie for little kids from seven on up.
My Ratings: Good/4½
—Aaron, age 12
Positive—This movie was great. I mean being a Disney movie for older teenagers, it had it’s cheesy parts, but then it had it’s funny parts too. It was great seeing Vin Diesel out of his normal “bad guy” role. The whole movie was great and the end was especially good. Little kids will like it and so will parents. The movie for the most part was clean and kept your attention. Recommended for kids to adults.
My Ratings: Better than Average/4
—Tim Whitaker, age 17
Positive—It was a funny movie it kept my attention for the entire movie. All kids would like it even if they don’t understand the crude jokes. It was good and I liked it the child actors did a great job.
My Ratings: Better than Average/4
—Shayla, age 16
Positive—I enjoyed this movie a lot! I am 17 and watched it with two other teenagers. It was funny to Vin Diesel play in a movie like this. Good Humor and it funny enough to keep 3 teenagers entertained. The violonce was very mild and never really showed anybody getting hurt.
My Ratings: Better than Average/3
—Joel, age 17
Positive—This was a great movie. My sisters and I really enjoyed it. It was funny and not too offensive. I thought it was cool because there is some action, and its enough to keep me interested, and keep my sisters laughing. Nothing really bad in this movie.
My Ratings: Good/3½
—Less, age 12
Positive—It was a great movie. It had action, comedy, and drama all perfectly put together. It was full of great acting. I think the potty humor was very light. My little brother and sister loved it. Even my dad liked it. It was very funny. “The Pacifier” will be a Disney classic. I think children and adults of all ages will like this movie.
My Ratings: Good/5
—Sam, age 14
Positive—The film “The Pacifier” at first didn’t sound like it would be a very good or funny movie to me, but after I took the time to sit down and watch it I enjoyed the movie and loved it. I strongly reccomend this movie and I watched this movie over and over again, because I enjoyed it so much. This movie has some parts that mention bad language and a bit of bullying featured in adults, but overall this is a good movie and entertains the whole family.

In my own opinion, this is one of the best family films I have ever watched, and despite some language and scenes, this movie is very humourous. The movie is about a navy seal, named Shane Wolfe; who is assigned to watch over a widow’s children and their pet duck, Gary. He must protect the household and keep the home in order until their mother returns. While doing so, he experiences the ups and downs of his assingment and disciplines the children and developes a strong bond with them and eventually has a bond for their principal. And he also defends them from their obnoxious and somewhat of a bully Vice principal, Merny. Near the end of the film Shane finds out who the real villains are in a surprising twist and saves the whole family, and there is a happy ending.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Kendra, age 13 (USA)
Movie Critics
…never build, stagings are clumsy, and the whole thing feels as if it were slapped together in haste…
—Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
…suffers from hyperactive story line… The problem with “The Pacifier” is that it’s all about watching Diesel battle bad guys instead of building bonding moments among his character’s surrogate family…
—John Hayes, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
…It was the run-ragged parents who were laughing—often more loudly than the kids… The situations aren’t so much clichéd as they are written from truth, which is why moms, dads… revel in the catharsis…
—Lindy T. Shepherd, Orlando Weekly