Movie Review: ‘Daddy Day Camp’

August 15, 2007, Epoch Times

This movie will make you think.

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Daddy Day Camp, directed by Fred Savage (Kevin Arnold from the Wonder Years ) and starring Cuba Gooding Jr. ( Jerry Maguire ), is the sequel to the mildly amusing Daddy Day Care of 2003. This version of the same formula comes to audiences sans Eddie Murphy, arguably the only element holding together its predecessor, with a script that should have been “filed.”

Do I need to summarize the plot? The “daddies,” of course, try to fix up a dilapidated camp, despite a complete lack of funding or outdoor know-how; and as unfunny, off-color humor is speckled throughout, high jinks ensue.

I do love a film that gives you something to think about.

About five minutes into this picture, I was thinking about Oscar-award-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. He’s likable on screen, but even he couldn’t make the dialogue sound like anything anyone would actually say. Why is he taking on roles like this? Wouldn’t we all love to see him in something else?

As I endured some more Daddy Day Camp, I began to think about the children—the children whose parents would bring them to the theater to see a nice family film, and have mistaken this to be just that. The behavior of the kids in this film is utterly ridiculous. The audience is expected to find it hilarious when a kid punches one of the dads, when a boy relieves himself in a flowerpot, or when a girl sarcastically asks her mother if she took her Xanax today. This film seems to decree that this is just the way kids are these days and aren’t they funny? Children watching this film are likely to get swept up in this degenerate thinking.

I discreetly checked the time on my cell phone about one hour into Daddy Day Camp, when my mind wandered to the topic of the target audience for this film. Daddy Day Camp is like a case study in the art of “dumbing down.” The humor and overall storyline are trite and predictable. Clearly, those involved in the production worked under the assumption that their audience is unintelligent. The expectation that someone will be entertained by this material is actually insulting.

Leaving the theater, I was thinking about all of those talented screenwriters and directors out there who are creating quality works but who can’t get the attention of big studios because they are all tied up in projects like this.

Daddy Day Camp was devised from a premise that had potential, but was executed in such a way that it proves only a sad commentary on the way Hollywood perceives children, the general audience, and the accepted standard of quality. However, if you need to get some thinking done, perhaps this is the film for you.

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