Given what I have written below, I find it apropos that the first film I review is Daddy Day Care starring Eddie Murphy. I was fully prepared to give this one a bad rating given what I had read about it and certainly given the direction of one of my favorite comedic actors of the last twenty years. I mean the man stands up against the likes of Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce. However, once again Eddie has delivered. I can't help it, the man is funny and he knows what makes people laugh. In fact, in this film, he's not even the funniest performance. This honor would have to go to the kids. Bill Cosby make a bundle off of Kids Say the Darndest Things and for good reason. Kids are funny. I especially applaud the girl with the glasses (Halley something or other) and the blond girl who must be related to Dakota Fanning as she is the spitting image. Also, the kid that plays Eddie's son does a hell of a job. They all have their moments and it makes the movie when presented next to the new Eddie.
Now what is the new Eddie, you ask? Well, I'll tell you. I cannot deny that I miss the edgy Eddie Murphy that gave us Delirious and Raw, as well as Beverly Hills Cop, Trading Places and Life (some of my favorites), but I think Coming to America was a great transformation for him. He established himself as not only funny (which we already knew) but that he could also carry a movie that would appeal to families as well. The Nutty Professor and it's sequel, followed by the great animated Shrek showed that his humor could carry with mom and pop just as mutch as it could for the kids. This is where he found he could make money with his old fans and the new ones.
As to Daddy Day Care, no - it's not the greatest performance of his life, nor the funniest thing he's ever done. Look - it's not The Godfather, but it warms the heart and makes you laugh and what more could you really want in a movie? He's a successful ad executive that loses his job and has to find another way to make a living while his wife begins to practice law. He stumbles upon a way to make some dough while spending more time with his son and learning that he can make a bigger difference with people by taking care of young children rather than try to sell kids Veggie-O's (yuck!). As I said, the kids are cute, Eddie is Eddie and the movie gives us plenty of funny moments, some of which had me spitting out my beer. Especially noteworthy are the hilarious Steven Zahn (does this guy know how funny he is?) and a wonderful small part for one of the best actresses of the last fifty years, Angelica Huston.
Eddie is not dirty in this movie - he doesn't have to be. The material is there to provide the audience with laughs, especially if you have a couple of rugrats at home. This is a great movie to sit down and watch with the kids or to enjoy on your own. I recommend that you rent it if you have not seen it and laugh as I did. I certainly hope Eddie Murphy finds that one great role because I personally think he has in him, but until then, I am perfectly happy to watch him make his all encompassing movies and laugh along with everyone else. That is all.