Archive for babysitter

The Babysitter

Posted in Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

The Babysitter, directed by McG, follows Cole (Judah Lewis), who is madly in love with his babysitter Bee (Samara Weaving). She’s cool and awesome in all the ways Cole is not. One evening while Bee is babysitting, Cole witnesses the unthinkable. Now he must survive a night full of first kisses, first broken hearts, and first encounters with homicidal maniacs (played by Bella Thorne, Andrew Bachelor, Robbie Amell, and Hana Mae Lee).

What people are saying:

“There are a few good pop-culture gags here, but it is the strong central performances of [Samara] Weaving as the hottie and Lewis as the nerd that elevate this to more than just an exercise in ironic B movie-making.” 3 1/2 stars

“Perhaps the most infuriating element of The Babysitter is that it feels like a horror movie made by someone who doesn’t necessarily like horror movies, and is taking this odd opportunity to sort of laugh at the genre.” 3 stars

The Babysitter has much to be desired from a screenplay perspective, with the lead child actor providing a serviceable performance. The plot is a bit choppy, but the way the film gets its theme right allows it to work. It sits better as a thriller rather than a horror, but there’s enough gore to make you think otherwise. There are an excessive number of experimental techniques used, (They use the ‘Hugo Stiglitz’ freeze-frame with the guitar riff about 5 times in underwhelming moments), but it keeps the experience refreshing. It’s on the better side of Netflix output.” 3 1/2 stars

“This movie plays like a teenage wish-fulfillment fantasy which can’t decide whether to be funny or scary, and fails to be either. It tries to be ironic about the genre, but only manages to be cliche. The Actors actually do a good job with a severely lacking script.” 1 1/2 stars

“When the film works, it’s a lot of fun, there’s a particular scene where Robbie Amell’s character tries to help the main kid face his bully literally seconds after Robbie tried to kill him and it’s kind of amazing. It’s the kind of joke that really works and if all the jokes had been like that we’d have something here. The film can be enjoyable, everything from the 30-minute mark onward isn’t that bad and I will admit that I laughed at a fair few moments but the films inability to remain consistent and it’s bizarre visual choices just make it a confusing watch in the end. Not a bad watch because there’s still something here that’s fun, but it’s confused and needed a lot more work.” 3 stars

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Uncle Buck

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2018 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

In this cheerful, lightweight comedy, excruciatingly clumsy, disorganized, and messy Uncle Buck Russell (John Candy) becomes the screens most unlikely babysitter since Clifton Webb in Sitting Pretty. While their parents are away, eight-year old Miles (Macaulay Culkin), six-year old Maizy (Gaby Hoffman) and their teen-aged sister, Tia (Jean Kelly) are left in the care of Buck. Surprisingly, the very inept Uncle Buck entertains the younger children who come to love him and earns the respect of Tia when he rescues her from her worthless boyfriend. However, in doing so, Buck nearly loses his long-time girlfriend Chanice (Amy Madigan).

What people are saying:

“…an agreeable comedy that benefits substantially from Hughes’ undeniable gift for seamlessly blending laughs with drama.” 3 1/2 stars

“This is a straight foreword John Candy 80’s comedy. If you are a fan of Candy and his silly antics you will love this movie. The acting is fantastic. The story is not entirely believable but where it strays off that road it is for the sake of laughs. ‘Uncle Buck’ is a touching comedy/drama speckled with laugh-out-loud scenes and covered in tongue-in-cheek humor about parenting. If you are looking for a lighthearted feel good comedy that is mostly wholesome check this out” 4 stars

“It’s a goofy movie, but also extraordinarily sly, unafraid to permit generous screentime to bizarre jokes and situations of slack guardian supervision.” 4 stars

“As only John Candy could, this movie takes you from laughing out loud to crying through the poignant scene. The screenwrite then brings you back from the abyss with a final round of robust laughter. I can’t imagine anyone watching this movie without immediately looking up every movie John Candy ever performed in. He was truly a master!” 5 stars

“Irresponsible, cigar smoking, gambling black sheep uncle Buck is his brother’s last resort to look after his teenage daughter and two younger children. Buck starts out not being liked but by the end he’s a stand up guy. This comedy isn’t very interesting and is a result of a thin storyline and thin screenplay. The writer’s had a good idea but that’s about it.” 1 star

Revisited: Adventures in Babysitting

Posted in Movie Reviews, Revisited with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 2, 2014 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!:)

After her boyfriend, Mike Todwell (Bradley Whitford), cancels their anniversary date, 17-year-old Chris Parker (Elisabeth Shue) volunteers to babysit for the Andersons’ children, 15-year-old Brad (Keith Coogan), who is infatuated with Chris, and 8-year-old Sara (Maia Brewton), who is infatuated with the superhero Thor. However, she gets a frantic phone call from her friend Brenda (Penelope Ann Miller), who has run away from home, asking her to come pick her up after running out of money from the cab ride to the bus station. Throughout the film, Brenda’s situation is interspersed with the rest of the film, showing her dealing with a bum who thinks a phone booth is his house, a homeless woman who steals her glasses, a hot dog vendor who demands payment only in cash, and her holding a stray cat, refusing to hand it over to animal control officers until they inform her that what she is holding is actually a sewer rat, which she cannot recognize due to her lack of eyeglasses. Chris takes Brad, Sara, and Brad’s friend Daryl Coopersmith (Anthony Rapp) and sets out, but they get a flat tire, find the spare compartment empty, and become stranded on the expressway.

A friendly tow truck driver with a hook on one of his hands, “Handsome” John Pruitt (John Ford Noonan), realizing they are on their own in the city for the first time, offers to tow them to Dawson’s Garage free of charge. En route to the garage, he gets a call on his CB saying that his wife is cheating on him and he heads home. The kids look away when Pruitt claims that he keeps his severed hand in his glove compartment, which in truth it contains his firearm, then a brief shootout ensues in which during the crossfire the windshield of Chris’ family car is shattered. During their scramble to get away, the kids unwittingly climb into a Cadillac just as it is being hotwired by a professional car thief, Joe Gipp (Calvin Levels). Gipp promises to help them get out of the city but first he needs to get the car to his boss at a chop shop. Gipp’s boss briefly detains the kids, then decides to leave them in his office as he has more important issues with his underlings. Daryl finds a Playboy magazine and steals it before they escape onto the building’s roof; however, it contains incriminating notes, causing the crooks to chase after them. They stumble into a Blues club and are forced to sing about their ordeal by Albert Collins, receiving applause from the audience. Billy Branch plays himself as the harmonica player in this scene. After they have left, the car thieves are held up when they are forced to do the same thing.

The car thieves manage to once again catch up to the kids, but the four narrowly escape by stowing away aboard a Chicago ‘L’ train. Inside the near-empty train, Chris and the children become suddenly caught in the middle of a gang fight in which Brad is injured and taken to the hospital (Mercy Medical Center), where an Indian doctor first says Brad is dead, but embarrassingly then says he mixed up his patients and that Brad only fainted from the shock and that the doctor has easily patched up the knife wound, which only knicked Brad’s foot. The group again encounters Pruitt, who is on the run due to his earlier fight. He tells Chris he took responsibility for the broken windshield, replacing that at his expense, but that his boss Dawson charged them $50 for a new tire and that he will keep the car until the debt is squared. They then come across a college fraternity party at Daryl almost gets into a fight with a jock whose lonely girlfriend attempts to make out with him. Chris encounters a fraternity member Dan Lynch (George Newbern), who is a gentleman to her, but only can offer Chris $45 towards her debt with Dawson. Dan then drives them to Dawson’s garage.

In the garage, Dawson (Vincent D’Onofrio) is seen with a sledgehammer, which makes Sara believe he is Thor. Chris gives him Dan’s cash, but he says that is insufficient to release the car. Sara says that Thor would not be stingy like that, and she gives him her plastic winged helmet, causing Dawson to reconsider and allowing Chris to reclaim the car. On their way through the city, they pass by the restaurant to where Mike was going to bring Chris on their date, and Daryl spots his car parked out front. She goes in to find him flirting with the sleazy Sesame Plexer. Furious, Chris yells at Mike, but when he insults her, Brad and Daryl shove him into a table full of food. Meanwhile, Sara wanders off and is spotted by Joe Gipp and Graydon, the underboss of the car theft ring. She is chased to the Crain Communications Building, where her parents are attending a party. Sara tries to find her parents to get to safety, but she ends up the unoccupied top floor, which is undergoing renovation. She then uses a rope to escape, but finds herself dangling precariously. Graydon goes out on the ledge in order to rescue Sara, but the intent of his rescue is to capture her to find out what happened to the crucial plans. At the last moment, Sara is rescued by Chris and Joe, who has turned on his bosses and is now convinced to go straight, joking to Chris that her babysitting job is tougher than anything he has done.

The group successfully pick ups Brenda, whom Chris returns to her house, telling Brenda she just has to face her own problems with her family. The group then speeds back to the Anderson residence. Chris sends the kids upstairs while she quickly tidies up the mess left earlier in the day. She settles in just as Mr. and Mrs. Anderson walk in through the door. She goes up to say good night to the kids and they all thank each other for the greatest night of their lives. As she leaves, Dan shows up to return Sara’s skate which she had accidentally left behind, but notes that wasn’t the only reason, and they share a kiss.

A post-credits scene shows Graydon still leaning against the side of the building, desperately waiting for rescue.

REVIEW:

Well, it appears that is my 2000th post, so it better be a good one, right? How does Adventures in Babysitting sound? Recently, I’ve gotten addicted to taking those Buzzfeed movie quizzes. One of them was about how many movies have you seen from the 80s. I thought I would’ve done better than I did, but oh well. Let there be one from the 40s or 50s, maybe even the 60s, and I bet I get a really high score! Ha! Enough rambling, let’s get to the review, shall we?

What is this about?

When Chris agrees to baby-sit for the Andersons after her boyfriend stands her up, it’s hardly the boring night she expected. Chris takes the kids along on an errand to downtown Chicago, but one flat tire leads to an outrageous all-night fiasco.

What is this about?

Excitement. There is a reason adventure is in the title. Along with all the comedy this film has to offer, the entire film is a caper. For those of us that didn’t grow up in a major metropolis, an outing to the big city with the parents was enough of an adventure. Just imagine what it would have been like to experience said trip with a babysitter, no money, and car thieves chasing you.

Blues. “Don’t nobody leave here without singing the blues.” As part of their trek across downtown Chicago, a town that look beautiful at night, btw (they just don’t show cities at night like this anymore…at least to the point that the audience can enjoy them), they end up in a blues club and Elizabeth Shue’s character is forced to sing the blues, with the kids backing her up. Now, a group of white kids from the suburbs on stage at a blues club on the wrong side of Chicago is sure to not go over well with the crowd, as you can imagine, but since this is a family film, you can also imagine that they’ll eventually warm up to them with a good performance, and that is what we get, in perhaps the most memorable scene of the film.

Back in time. Maybe it is because of the strict copyright laws (and greedy artists/companies) we have today, but 30 years from now, I don’t think any of us are going to be able to watch a film and be transported back to today based strictly on the soundtrack. This film doesn’t sport a soundtrack that is indicative of the era, such as Back to the Future, Animal House, or Clueless, but it is definitely 80s, one of the most entertaining eras for music, if nothing else. One the opening tune started, I was immediately taken back to my childhood (I was in elementary school when this was released) and had a strong desire to torture my big sister.

What didn’t I like?

Car trouble. This whole adventure happens because of car trouble. Well, actually, it starts because of Chris’ friend running away, but who is arguing exact details, right? The whole busted tire and all the trouble that happens accordingly has never really made much sense. Not because it happened, but because she didn’t have a spare. As someone says to her, “You got on the freeway without a spare?!?” Even the most inexperienced driver knows to not go anywhere without the right preparations. Since this is her parents’ car, it just seems like common sense that, unless they were driving around on a donut, they would have a spare. Why didn’t they, other than this is just a convenient plot device to get the ball rolling?

Playboy. We are constantly being teased with how much Elisabeth Shue’s character looks like the current Playboy centerfold. Keep in mind that this is somewhat of a Disney film. I say somewhat because the company that released it was owned by Disney. At any rate, even though there is some choice language sprinkled in here and there, this is a pretty clean picture. That being said, I can’t help but wish they would have given us a glimpse at said centerfold. Not because I would have gotten some horny pleasure from it, but rather because 80s films are known for gratuitous nudity, a little glimpse at a Playboy wouldn’t have hurt, now would it?

Thor. Maia Brewton’s character is obsessed with Thor. In this day and age, where superheroes have all but taken over all of pop culture that hasn’t been polluted by the kardashians, miley cyrus, and the like, a little girl obsessed with the Norse God of thunder is nothing, but remember that this was released in the late 80s. I don’t even think our current Thor, Chris Hemsworth was out of diapers, yet. I don’t need to tell you that this Thor obsession was a bit much, but when you notice that the guy in charge of the garage happens to look like he could play Thor (he doesn’t look anything like that anymore, fyi), it makes me wonder if they had plans to do something more Thor-ish at some point, but instead, we just get the annoying references to Thor from Brewton every chance she gets.

Can I go back to this simpler time, please? Adventures in Babysitting made me realize how much the world has change in a short amount of time, and not for the better. This is one of those films that sets out to entertain, and does so in spades. Do I recommend it? Yes, very emphatically! Sometimes you just cannot go wrong with a classic film from a time not so far gone. Give it a shot some time, why don’t you?

5 out of 5 stars

The Sitter

Posted in Comedy, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on May 16, 2012 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Noah (Jonah Hill) is a college student who has been suspended and now lives with his mom. After having a disagreement with his mother, he’s lured into taking a babysitting job caring for the unruly kids of Mrs. Pedulla: her son Slater (Max Records), party-loving wild child Blithe (Landry Bender) and the pyromaniac adopted son Rodrigo (Kevin Hernandez).

Soon Noah is invited to a party to have sexual intercourse with his supposed girlfriend Marisa (Ari Graynor), who up to that point had used him only for oral sex. She agrees to have sex with him only if he brings her drugs to the party. Noah, tempted by the offer, steals Mrs. Pedulla’s car and takes the kids to the city, where he meets drug-dealing Karl (Sam Rockwell) in his body-building shop. Karl likes to hide his cocaine in expensive baby dinosaur eggs and loves to make new friends. After purchasing the drugs, Noah drives off, soon realizing Rodrigo has stolen an egg from Karl. After a struggle the egg bursts open, wasting all the cocaine inside. Karl finds out the drugs are missing and calls Noah, after finding his number on Facebook, he tells Noah that he has to come up with $10,000 or he will kill him. Noah, in a panic, decides to take the kids back to their parents but thinks against it feeling he has to fix his own problems. He then takes the kids to a bat mitzvah (which Slater was invited to earlier in the movie) for a bratty popular girl who goes to school with Slater. There Slater sees his friend, Clayton (Alex Wolff), who lied to him earlier saying that he couldn’t hang out with him because his spider died. Clayton admits he lied because he was sick of hanging out with him at his house and not going anywhere, which hurts Slater’s feelings.

Noah finds out the valet service has lost his van, which was actually stolen. Noah heads to his estranged father’s house to ask his father for the money. After his father berates him and refuses to give him money, Noah steals his fathers car and breaks into his father’s jewelry store, taking diamonds. Rodrigo, fascinated with bombs, puts a cherry bomb in the bathroom blowing up the store. Noah, frustrated with Rodrigo’s antics, yells at him and forces him to admit why he is so bad. A frustrated Rodrigo throws all of Slater’s medicine out the window believing that no one in the family likes him.

Slater has a panic attack over the missing medicine in which Noah tells him that he is a closeted homosexual. At first angry, Slater comes to accept this and calms down. Noah notices his stolen van and follows the thieves to a club where he runs across Jacolby (Method Man) and his girlfriend, who hates him because years ago Noah threw up in her grandmother’s urn. Noah allows her to hit him as an apology, which she does, then makes amends. Noah runs into Roxanne (Kylie Bunbury) a girl he knew before he dropped out of college and realizes she likes him. Still on the run from Karl, Noah goes to the party to save Marisa who is drunk and belligerent. When Karl shows up, Noah, Marisa and the kids make a run from him, crashing into a park. With Noah about to die, Jacolby and his crew suddenly come and save him, beating Karl up, while Noah runs and takes the kids back home. Marisa realizes she was a terrible girlfriend and that she got Noah into the night’s mess. Noah agrees, letting her know that he is done with her, without hard feelings. Finally Noah gets the kids home before their parents come back, cleaning up their mess. The kids all get extremely close to Noah and start to listen to him. Noah finally leaves after threatening Mr. Pedulla, acknowledging that he knows he is sleeping with his assistant. Roxanne meets him at the house, and they leave together walking home hand-in-hand.

REVIEW:

A few years ago, there were rumors of an Adventures in Babysitting remake. Names that were common to star in it were Raven Symone and Miley Cyrus. Just as soon as they had brought it up, it was scrapped. Then, out of the blue, The Sitter is released. Like most people, I thought this was nothing more than some other studio trying to take over that idea, and not very well.

What did I like?

Comedic moments. Here and there, we are privy to hilarious moments that are sure to have you rolling on the floor laughing. These are the moments that make it worth watching.

Sam Rockwell. In almost every film he’s in, this guy steals the show, or at least hams it up on screen. This makes him the perfect villain in a comedy.

Jonah Hill. I hate to say it, but when he lost weight, he also lost funny. Here, he is still the fat guy with the Jewfro and still pretty funny, albeit a bit annoying.

80s references. While this film is set in present day, there are plenty of 80s product placements here, like an Alyssa Milano aerobics video playing in the little girl’s room and 80s music here and there, which is totally rad, man!

What didn’t I like?

Blatant rip off of a certain movie. I’m not sure if it was meant to be a slight reference or proof that this was indeed a remake. In either case, it just wasn’t done very well in most cases, though the bar scene wasn’t bad.

The kids. As is the case with any film that uses children of today, these kids are just downright annoying. The little girl thinks she can be a celebrity by doing nothing (don’t you just love what today’s society has created), the oldest boy is apparently a closeted homosexual with all sorts of issues, and the adopted boy is some kind of pyromaniac and also has to take piss everywhere. He really should have that looked at.

Vibe. The whole vibe of this film feels as if it is trying too hard to be either funny or not come off as the great 80s flick that no doubt inspired it. At least that’s how it felt to me.

The Sitter was actually better than I expected it to be, but then I didn’t exactly have the highest of hopes for it. This is not one of those flicks that you need to rush out and see, though. Something tells me that within the next year or so, it’ll be airing regularly on some cable channel, or at least on Netflix instant streaming. Do I regret watching it? No, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Basically, everything you see in the trailer is all the funny parts of the film, save for Rockwell’s scenes. Nothing else is worth seeing.

3 out of 5 stars

Don’t Bother to Knock

Posted in Classics, Horror, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , on July 20, 2011 by Mystery Man

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

Lyn Lesley, the bar singer at New York’s McKinley Hotel, frets about the impending arrival of her boyfriend, airline pilot Jed Towers. Lyn had mailed Jed a letter ending their six-month relationship, and when Jed questions her, she explains that she is leaving him because he lacks an understanding heart.

Meanwhile, elevator operator Eddie introduces his shy niece, Nell Forbes, to guests Peter and Ruth Jones as the babysitter he has arranged for their daughter Bunny. The Joneses, who are dining in the hotel’s banquet hall, bid goodnight to Bunny.

Nell is worried about her lack of experience. After the child falls asleep, Nell goes into the other room and dons a lacy negligee belonging to Ruth, as well as some of her perfume and jewelry. Jed, whose room is across the courtyard, can see Nell through the window.

He calls the voluptuous blonde on the telephone. While she is intimidated by Jed’s seductive tone, Nell is also intrigued, but their conversation is interrupted by Eddie, who is checking on Nell. He orders her to remove Ruth’s apparel. When she protests, Eddie soothes her by saying that she can obtain such luxuries for herself by finding another boyfriend to replace the one who was killed. Eddie then leaves, and Nell invites Jed to come over.

Jed is bewildered by her hesitant, yet flirtatious demeanor, as well as by her inconsistent explanations about her presence in the hotel. Nell is startled when Jed states that he is a pilot. She confides that boyfriend Philip died while flying over the Pacific.

Bunny interrupts them, whereupon Nell shakes the child and orders her to return to bed. Feeling sorry for Nell, who has been in New York for only a month, Jed acquiesces to her plea for him to stay. He also comforts the crying Bunny, although when Bunny looks out the window, it appears that Nell is about to push her. Jed rescues the girl, the incident being witnessed by Emma Ballew, a nosy, long-term resident.

Nell escorts the child to bed, then accuses Bunny of spying on her and warns her not to make any noise. Jed has decided to seek Lyn’s forgiveness, but Nell again begs him not to leave. As he is refusing a kiss from her, Jed sees scars on her wrists. Nell confesses that after Philip died, she tried to kill herself with a razor.

Eddie again comes to check on Nell. Jed hides in the bathroom to avoid a confrontation. Eddie is irate that Nell is still wearing Ruth’s things. He chastises her, saying he had thought that Nell was “getting better.” Eddie orders her to change clothes, then harshly rubs off her lipstick. The action enrages Nell, who accuses Eddie of being just like her repressive parents, then hits him over the head with a heavy ashtray.

Almost in a trance, Nell goes into Bunny’s room as Jed tends to Eddie’s wound. Nell returns and is confronted by the Ballews, who are suspicious of the child’s cries they have heard. Fearing for his job, Eddie persuades Jed to hide in the bathroom, but while Nell is talking with the neighbors, Jed sneaks into Bunny’s room. He does not notice that Bunny is now bound and gagged. When the Ballews see him leave, they assume that Jed had forced his way in and was holding Nell captive.

The Ballews notify the hotel detective. Nell, who is now so deluded that she believes Jed is Philip, locks Eddie in the closet and goes into Bunny’s room. In the bar, Jed tells Lyn about Nell. She is surprised by his sympathetic reaction.

Suddenly realizing that Bunny was on the wrong bed, Jed rushes up to the room, where Nell, believing that Bunny drove Jed away, is about to hurt the girl. Ruth Jones arrives first to check on her daughter and is attacked by Nell. Jed rushes in and pulls Nell away from Ruth, but she slips away as he unties Bunny.

Jed releases Eddie from the closet, Eddie admits that Nell had spent the previous three years in a mental institution following her suicide attempt. Jed then searches for the missing Nell and finds her in the lobby, where she is threatening to kill herself with a razor. Still believing that he is Philip, Nell is baffled by Jed’s attempts to help her, but his soothing tone induces her to give him the razor. Seeing that Jed has an understanding heart after all, Lyn reconciles with him as Nell is led away to a hospital.

REVIEW:

There are very few Marilyn Monroe movies that show off her true acting ability. The last one that I saw where she showed what she could really do was River of No Return, which was a true departure from her normal ditzy blonde roles. Don’t Bother to Knock was an even further departure from her norm.

The picture is centered around an unhinged babysitter in New York who becomes the object of affection for a pilot who has just broken up with his girlfriend. During the course of the film, we learn just how detached from reality and disturbed the babysitter really is, not to mention the fact that she was recently committed for attempted suicide after the death of her beau. As with any film of this nature, the climax comes in trying to keep the child safe from this proverbial “psycho”.

As I said earlier, this is a true departure for Marilyn Monroe. I actually thought she was going to come off as trying too hard, but this really was a decent performance, especially for her. Now, I won’t go so far as to sa it was good, but she did make the character come to life, which is all we can ask for from an actor, right?

The story really had me riveted and not bored out of my like I thought I would be when I read the synopsis. Admittedly, though, there were parts that lagged, but that is to be expected.

When all is said and done, Don’t Bother to Knock isn’t the best piece of classic cinema I’ve seen, nor is it memorable, but it was worth a viewing and I think anyone would enjoy this flick, whether you’re a fan of the classics or not.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars

The Pacifier

Posted in Comedy, Family, Movie Reviews with tags , , , , , , , on August 20, 2009 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

U.S. Navy SEAL Lieutenant Shane Wolfe (Vin Diesel) is assigned to rescue Howard Plummer (Tate Donovan), a man working on a top-secret government project, from a group of Serbian rebels. Wolfe and his team manage to get Plummer off an enemy boat; moments later, Wolfe and Plummer are shot while boarding the escape helicopter. Plummer is killed in the attack. Wolfe spends two months in the hospital. Wolfe’s commanding officer, Captain Bill Fanchette (Chris Potter), is assigned to escort Plummer’s widow Julie (Faith Ford) to Zurich, where a safety-deposit box belonging to the Plummers has been discovered. Wolfe is assigned to stay at the Plummer residence, in Bethesda, Maryland to search for the secret project called GHOST, hidden somewhere in the house, and to look after the family’s five children: Zoe (Brittany Snow), Seth (Max Thieriot), Lulu (Morgan York), Peter (Logan and Keegan Hoover), and Baby Tyler (Bo and Luke Vink).

The kids prove to be difficult to handle, even with the help of nanny Helga (Carol Kane): Zoe and Seth rebel against Wolfe’s authority; Lulu is obsessed with the new houseguest; the pet duck, Gary, resents Wolfe; and Helga finally quits when one of Zoe and Seth’s pranks go wrong.

Fanchette and Julie are forced to remain in Zurich longer when they learn that they must provide a password in order to access the box. Wolfe is left to drive the kids to school. There, he meets their strict, nearly-obnoxious vice principal Murney (Brad Garrett), and the beautiful principal Claire Fletcher (Lauren Graham), a former military trainee of whom Wolfe becomes enamored. After school, Wolfe saves Seth from a group of bullies, but later is led into the sewers when Zoe and Seth intentionally drop the tracking devices he put on them into the sewer.

When they finally reach home, they encounter an unexpected house party hosted by Zoe and her boyfriend, Scott. Wolfe forces all the guests to clean up the house before going home. Zoe yells at him. They are then attacked by a pair of masked ninjas, whom Wolfe eventually defeats. He explains the entire situation to the kids, who agree to co-operate with him.

A few days later, Murney brings the facts that Seth has cut and bleached his hair for no apparent reason, has a Nazi armband in his locker, and has skipped every wrestling practice for the past month, to Wolfe’s attention. At home, Seth furiously yells that he only joined the wrestling team in obedience to his father’s wish. He sneaks out of the house, tricking the alarm system with a freezer magnet. Wolfe, leaving Zoe in charge, follows him to the town theater, where he learns that Seth has secretly joined the production of The Sound of Music. The director quits when he believes the show will be a failure, whereupon Wolfe volunteers to take his place, and juggles this task with taking care of the house, giving Zoe driving lessons, and teaching Lulu and the Firefly Scouts martial arts to defend themselves against an obnoxious troop of rival boys that intimidate the girls and wreck their cookie display whenever they attempt to sell them at Costco.

Later, Seth quits the wrestling team at Wolfe’s prompting, confessing that he is in the Sound of Music after Murney catches him under the bleachers, practicing his dancing. When Murney threatens the boy, Wolfe challenges him to a wrestling match in front of the entire school. Despite Murney’s show of bluster, Wolfe easily wins.

The training Wolfe gives the Firefly Scouts becomes useful when they once again have a conflict with the Easter Bunny Scouts. The girls beat and tie up the boys, refusing to let them go until the thugs agree to stop bothering them.

Zoe and Wolfe share stories of their fathers, both of whom have died in similar circumstances. They are interrupted by a phone call from Julie, who has guessed the password (“My Angel”), retrieved the item in a box (a special key), and is on her way home. The kids immediately begin to plan a ‘Welcome Home’ party. Less than an hour later, Wolfe discovers a secret vault underneath the garage, which requires a key to open. Fanchette and Julie arrive. When mother and children are reunited, Fanchette and Wolfe go to the garage, where Wolfe says he is rethinking his career. The two ninjas seen earlier arrive armed, and pull off their masks, revealing themselves as the Plummers’ North Korean neighbors, the Chungs. Fanchette suddenly knocks out Wolfe, proving that he is in fact a double agent. They tie up and gag Zoe, Seth, and Lulu, place Peter and Tyler in the play pen, and take Julie to the vault. They manage to open the door, but the dangerous security system prevents them from going any farther.

The children escape Mr. Chung, and awaken Wolfe, who goes to the vault to help Julie, sending the kids to summon the police. Mr. Chung follows them in his car; with Zoe at the wheel, the kids force him to crash. Wolfe figures out how to get past the security system, using a dance (“The Peter Panda Dance”) used to make Peter go to sleep each night to avoid its traps. He, Julie, Fanchette, and Mrs. Chung engage in combat, and end the fight when Julie knocks out Mrs. Chung. Wolfe’s voice activates the final vault, knocking out Fanchette with the door. By then, the children have lured a large crowd of police to the house. Mr. Chung, however, holds all of them at gunpoint. Wolfe notices Principal Claire Fletcher right behind him, having followed the chase when she saw it pass by the school. Wolfe, aided by Garry the duck, distracts Mr. Chung, whereupon Claire knocks him unconscious.

With their missions accomplished, Wolfe and the Plummers say their goodbyes, and Wolfe and Claire share a kiss. The family attends Seth’s performance, where we learn that Wolfe has quit the Navy and joined the school staff as the new wrestling coach. Mr. Murney is shown briefly on stage, where he is singing Climb Ev’ry Mountain off-key while dressed in a nun’s dress, as the film concludes.

REVIEW:

I swear I have to be one of the few people I know that hadn’t seen this thing. Everyone has told me its funny, exciting, and that I had to see it. Not that I haven’t wanted to, just other things have come up. Finally, tonight, with no Bones on…or anything else worth watching for that matter except …Millionaire, I took the opportunity to sit and watch. I must say, it did not disappoint.

I suppose I should start by saying the thing that makes this film work more than anything else is the fact that Vin Diesel, who we all know as this hardcore action guy, having to be a babysitter is not just a cute idea, but it is such a radical concept, that by the time you wrap your mind around it, he’s kicking ninja butt or teaching the vice principal/wrestling coach a lesson using some Nave SEAL training.

As anyone that has seen any Vin Diesel movie can attest to, he’s not going to be winning any Academy Awards for his acting. Howver, this role plays up to his robotic nature. what I mean by that is he cold natured towards the kids for most of the film. Of course, in this type of film, he has to warm up to them, and that’s when Diesel goes back to his trying to hard type of acting. Even the kiss between he and Lauren Graham seemed awkward. That is not totally his fault, though. It just seemed to come out of nowhere, but it is at the end of the film, so there should be no surprise, there.

The plot is cute, but as some reviews I’ve read have said, is a little disjointed. The film does feel to jump around a bit. Of course, keep mind, I watched this thin on USA, so I’m sure there was some editing involved that made it even worse for me, but taking that into account, it still jumped a bit too much for my blood. Just as it felt like it was going in one direction, such as searching for the GHOST, then we end up watching Diesel teach the kids different things in your usual montage. I don’t know, maybe I’m the only one that feels that way, though.

This is a good family film and, unlike many of them out there today, the entire family can enjoy it, becuse it doesn’t dumb itself down or try to be too something it isn’t. Vin Diesel is hands down the star, but you can’t dismiss the kids or the supporting actors, as they make this film a real underrated treat.

4 out of 5 stars