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Daddy Day Care

IT IS a change from the latest crop of downers from Columbia pictures/revolution studios. And it is probably something that could amuse children and adults — more specifically fathers who must get involved with child rearing.

This means that "Daddy day care", starring Eddie Murphy, is the kind of film that is out to please and is filled with undemanding comic situations that work very often. Especially for Eddie, who with the success of "Dr Doolittle", "Nutty Professor" and "Shrek" is obviously able to pull off the charm with the little ones. According to the film, a good day care centre not only provides care but children may benefit by socialising with other kids and learning new things. And since children want to have fun they may enjoy being away from home. But it is certainly not a place where they prepare to be perfect beings, adept in social graces and score top marks in exams. All this comes to the surface when Charlie (Eddie Murphy) finds himself out of a high paying advertising job when a campaign for vegetable cereal is unceremoniously thrown out of the window.

Jobless and with several bills to pay, he hits upon the idea of starting a day care centre till something real comes along.

Joining him in this venture is Phil (Jeff Garlin), who is also without a job. They hope they can cater to parents who cannot afford the snooty school run by Miss Harridan (Angelica Huston).

His wife (Regina King) goes back to the courts to practise law and hopefully pay the monthly bills. Obviously he and Phil know nothing about looking after children. They find the house taken over by three and four-year-olds.

With the children actually flourishing here, Miss Harridan tries her best to put them out of business. After that it is a sugary end, completely sticking to formula (direction, Steve Carr), which will no doubt please anyone below 12.

The movie has all the predictable elements — flying food, potty jokes, kids running amok and then Charlie and Phil realise how much more satisfying this is compared to the work they were doing.

Murphy plays his role competently. Not much is expected of him of course. But the real stars are the kids — a variety of them. There is not much attention paid to the technical aspect or detailing, which is not really important! What are a few mikes seen above the characters in some scenes, when compared to the good-natured romp in the film?

CHITRA MAHESH

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