Daddy Day Care
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|Daddy Day Care|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Steve Carr|
|Produced by||John Davis
|Written by||Geoff Rodkey|
|Music by||David Newman|
|Editing by||Christopher Greenbury|
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||92 minutes|
Daddy Day Care is a 2003 comedy film starring Eddie Murphy and co-starring Anjelica Huston. Written by Geoff Rodkey and directed by Steve Carr, the film was released in theaters on May 9, 2003. It was produced by Revolution Studios and released by Columbia Pictures. Although the film received mostly negative reviews, it was financially successful, grossing $164 million worldwide on a budget of $60 million plus prints and advertising. The 2007 sequel Daddy Day Camp, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., was almost universally panned by critics and flopped at the box office.
Charlie Hinton (Murphy) is a recently-laid-off food products marketing executive and stay-at-home father whose wife Kim (Regina King) has just gone back to work as a lawyer. They enroll their child, Ben (Khamani Griffin), in Chapman Academy, a very academic pre-school headed by Miss Harridan (Huston). But when Kim finds out how much the parents have to pay per month, she takes Ben out of Chapman and looks for other daycare faclities. Unable to find either a suitable daycare or new employment, Hinton opens up a day care center in his home, Daddy Day Care, with the help of his best friend Phil Ryerson (Jeff Garlin). At first, the local moms are suspicious of men wanting to work with children. But as Daddy Day Care is cheaper and more child-centered than the academy, the latter begins to lose students.
Unwilling to accept the presence of competition, Miss Harridan attempts to shut down Daddy Day Care by notifying child services that Charlie and Phil are not following the relevant regulations. Mr. Kubitz (Jonathan Katz), a director of child services notifies them of the codes that need to be fixed, which Charlie and Phil quickly correct. Daddy Day Care grows in popularity and attracts more children. Mr. Kubitz informs Phil and Charlie that they need another employee to keep an appropriate ratio of children to caregivers. Luckily, Marvin (Steve Zahn), a nerdy former co-worker, had dropped by and after seeing how good he is at entertaining the children, Phil and Charlie ask him about joining. Marvin is unsure at first, but then finds himself falling for Kelli (Leila Arcieri), the single mother of one of the children, and agrees.
Later, Mr. Kubitz tells them they have too many kids to stay at Charlie's residence. They find an abandoned building with potential, but do not have the money to buy it. They hold a fund raising event called "Rock for Daddy Day Care" which Miss Harridan finds out about. Miss Harridan and her assistant Jenny (Lacy Chabert) wreck the festival by unplugging a bouncy castle, filling the food with cockroaches, switching face paint with glue, releasing animals from the petting zoo, and turning on the park sprinklers. Daddy Day Care does not raise enough money. Shortly after, Charlie and Phil are offered their old jobs back, accepting Miss Harridan's offer to take the kids back to the academy. Marvin, heartbroken by the closing of the day care, declines Charlie and Phil's offer to be on board their marketing panel.
Charlie soon realizes during a cereal pitch that the time he has given to his new life, and the increased bond with his son is "the most important thing", and starts to question the morality of his current assignment (which involves marketing high-sugar breakfast cereal to children). He resigns his job, and successfully convinces the children and their parents to return to Daddy Day Care, making it a raging success, causing Chapman Academy to shut down. Marvin is now in a relationship with Kelli. Miss Harridan now takes a job as a crossing guard, and her former assistant, Jenny, joins Daddy Day Care at the new facility.
- Eddie Murphy as Charlie Hinton, the owner of Daddy Day Care.
- Jeff Garlin as Phil Ryerson, Charlie's best friend, and co-owner of Daddy Day Care.
- Steve Zahn as Marvin, Charlie and Phil's other friend, and third manager of Daddy Day Care.
- Regina King as Kim Hinton, Charlie's wife
- Anjelica Huston as Miss Harridan, the headmistress of a rival daycare center.
- Lacey Chabert as Jenny, Miss Harridan's assistant
- Kevin Nealon as Bruce
- Jonathan Katz as Dan Kubitz
- Shane Baumel as Crispin
- Max Burkholder as Max Ryerson, Phil's son
- Jimmy Bennett as Flash/Tony
- Leila Arcieri as Kelli
- Khamani Griffin as Ben Hinton, the only child of Charlie and Kim Hinton.
- Elle Fanning as Jamie
- Felix Achille as Dylan, Kelli's son who shrieks a lot.
- Hailey Noelle Johnson as Becca
- Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Peggy
- Arthur Young as Nicky, Peggy's son who speaks Klingon and only Marvin can understand.
- Wallace Langham as Jim Fields
- Lisa Edelstein as Crispin's mother
The film received generally negative reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 28% rating based on reviews from 125 critics; the site's consensus is: "Daddy Day Care does its job of babysitting the tots. Anyone older will probably be bored." On Metacritic, the film has a 39% rating based on 35 reviews, indicating "generally unfavorable" reviews.
Despite the negative critical ratings, the film was a box office success, grossing over $160 million worldwide based on a $60 million budget.
The sequel was almost universally panned by critics and is considered a major flop at the box office, even though it tripled its budget (barely making over $18 million). The only characters to return from the original film were Charlie, Phil, Ben, Max, Kim and Becca, all of whom were played by different people.