What happened to Cuba Gooding Jr.? Since when did he have to take Eddie Murphy’s sloppy seconds? The man has an Academy Award for crying out loud. OK, that was twelve years ago from Jerry McGuire, and Cuba has made Snow Dogs and Boat Trip since then, but I still kinda believe in him. After all, this is the guy who said “Show me the money” and made Tom Cruise say “I love black people!” Wasn’t that great? Talent like that doesn’t just fade away into bolivian like Mike Tyson would say.
Apparently Cuba didn’t heed the advice that you should avoid working with kids and animals because they’ll always steal the show from you. Or the advice that you should avoid crappy sequels to kids movies. Maybe he lost out to Scott Baio on Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2 and decided never to miss an opportunity like that ever again. Maybe he needs to consider hiring a new agent. Maybe we never hear from Cuba again. Only time will tell if he can stand the test of time…
Anyway, Daddy Day Camp picks off where Daddy Day Care left off. Charlie Hinton (Cuba Gooding Jr. filling in for Murphy who was off doing, I dunno, Pluto Nash 2?) waxes nostalgic and decides to buy the old summer camp he attended when he was a kid with the help of his friend, Phil (Paul Rae doing his best Jeff Garlin impression). Only, the owner, Uncle Morty (Brian Doyle-Murray), has run the camp into the ground. Will Charlie be able to turn Camp Driftwood around? Will the standard-issue rival day camp bring him down? Will Charlie be able to mend his relationship with his father? Will this movie ever end?
You don’t need me to tell you that Daddy Day Camp is an absolute waste of time. The 1% it got over at Rotten Tomatoes is generous, and should tell you all you need to know. This movie is even below kids’ movie standards. The only way I can recommend this movie is if you need a new effective disciplinary strategy. Then again, forcing your children to watch this drivel might be child abuse.
Director Fred Savage (Kevin from the Wonder Years) can’t even blame Wayne for this.
Daddy Day Camp gets the big studio treatment meaning its picture is actually very good. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen picture boats a bright color palate which is clear and sharp. Too bad its wasted on this movie.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track sits around waiting for something to do, but when its given a task it produces admirably. A school bus crash (aren’t they funny?!) is filled with bass and an ATV race might wake the viewer up from a nap. The music, which is pretty much non-stop, fills out the soundstage nicely. Not a bad audio track.
You’ve got your standard making-of doc in How I Spent My Summer Making Daddy Day Camp which features a ton of of the film’s child actors mugging for the camera and telling of their experiences making the film.
You’ll need to have watched it in order to answer the questions in the What I Learned at Camp: Interactive Quiz. It’s also in Spanish for the ninos y ninas. A word of advice for my Spanish speaking readers (sorry, my keyboard doesn’t have the upside-down exclamation point needed to get my panic across): Corra! Vaya! No mire hacia atrás!
There’s also a ton of previews for more children’s films. Hopefully none of them are as bad as this.
Even your kids will be like WTF? when you bring Daddy Day Camp home and put it into the DVD player, attempting to keep them busy for 90 minutes. Maybe they will fall asleep, maybe they will run screaming from the house. Hey, whatever gets the job done. Anyway, the A/V specs are on-par with big studio releases, resulting in wasted audio and video quality. The Special Features are slapped onto the disc like a child might slap a wet slice of cheese against a window, but the quiz might entertain the toddlers for a few minutes before they throw the remote at the TV.
I really tried to watch this movie from a kid’s perspective, but the inner child in me tried to claw its way through my stomach and strangle me with my own steaming innards.
Just in case you thought I was too harsh, here are some other reviews…
DVDIzzy – If you were asked a year ago to make a list of ten family films released this decade that you’d want a sequel to, I’m almost positive Daddy Day Camp wouldn’t be on it. In fact, you could expand the list to twenty or thirty and while you might have to rack your brain for entries, you’d probably still overlook that kid-friendly 2003 Eddie Murphy comedy.
DVD Talk – If Mommy and Daddy have to suffer through half-baked dramas, unfunny comedies, and suspense-less thrillers, why should the bratlings get something better? Daddy Day Care suggests that, far from pandering to its proposed demographic, the new post-modern family fiasco wants to replace corporeal punishment as a form of child abuse. Only problem is, movies like this are twice as painful.