Review: The Pacifier

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Ever since The Fast and the Furious and XXX, Vin Diesel has made his mark as a sought-after action hero. The gorgeous known-to-be-buff heart throb undresses his tough-guy-image " and takes off his shirt " in the new Disney movie The Pacifier. As Shane Wolfe, a Navy SEAL now on a domestic mission and looking after the Plummer kids, he finds himself up for a gigantic challenge. The oldest teenage daughter Zoe (Brittany Snow " Meg on NBC series American Dreams) is struggling with driving lessons, boys, and the responsibilities of being a strong backbone for her family. Seth (Max Thieriot " Catch That Kid) is a confused, sad loner-type who is beginning to find himself. Lulu (Morgan York " Cheaper by the Dozen) is a cookie-selling, karate-kicking Firefly who just may have a crush on the new live-in man of the house. Peter (Keegan and Logan Hoover) and Tyler (Bo Vink, Luke Vink) are the youngest of the squad but are quite a handful in the diaper-changing and bottle-feeding department. Vin Diesel is doing what he does best " blowing things up, saving innocent people from bad guys and well, taking care of children? With a little help from the housekeeper Helga played by Carol Kane (Hester Street, Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen) Wolfe realizes this is a task much larger than anything he has ever endured. By becoming the temporary live-in care giver, Vin Diesel unleashes a sensitive side and surprises the kids " and the audience " that beneath the well-sculpted shell there exists a warm, soft underbelly to the beast.

The movie feeds our need for the action-hero-Vin as much as it offers a touching story about self-discovery. With endearing moments and lots of baby puke, this was an adorable movie that I believe director Adam Shankman (Bringing Down the House, The Wedding Planner) pulled off by taking the elements of expected Vin Diesel-isms and blending it successfully with a heartwarming family comedy. There is enough body to this film to satisfy the grown-up audience as well as the younger viewers. It serves as lighthearted entertainment with strong messages that parents can appreciate. The adventure brings us all through the little leagues with boyfriend break-ins, a squawking pet duck, a Firefly troop, a lot of whistling, speeding cars, an enthusiastic goodnight dance and of course, baby bottles and juice boxes galore.

There is, of course, a few fun action-packed scenes alongside a developing love interest between Vin Diesel's character Shane Wolfe and the school principle, Claire Fletcher (Lauren Graham " Gilmore Girls). Next in line on the school staff is Vice Principle Murney (Brad Garrett " Everybody loves Raymond) who is a constant annoying trigger behind the children's miserable educational experience " not to mention just being a strange, funny man floating around campus usually on the hunt for his next victim. The demeanor and attitude reflected from Vin Diesel's portrayal of a Navy SEAL-turned-stay-at-home-nanny doesn't stray too far off the path of what we already know of his previous films, but he does (and we need pay credit to where credit is due) somehow radiate more innocence and charm in The Pacifier than ever before. Adding the on-screen romance with the lovely Lauren Graham and the relationships that he forms with the Plummer kids, Vin Diesel is starting to shed his tough-guy appeal and leaning towards a new sensitive guy image " much like Arnold Schwarzenegger did in Kindergarten Cop.

Looking into the future, I believe this film is a brand new stepping stone for the heavily-stereotyped actor and will mark the beginning of an overall serious side. Optimistically, this could be the beginning of a more dramatic shift in his career " especially after Sidney Lumet's upcoming courtroom drama Find Me Guilty, where Vin Diesel plays Jackie DiNorscio, a 47-year-old mobster defending himself on trial.

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