Making the Grades
Disney and Diesel might seem like an odd combination. But actor Vin Diesel is leaving behind--temporarily at least--the action of XXX and The Chronicles of Riddick to take on a new assignment as a hard-hitting Navy S.E.A.L. in the family film The Pacifier.
After their father is killed in a botched undercover mission, Shane Wolfe (Diesel) is sent in to protect the five Plummer children for 48 hours while their mother (Faith Ford) leaves the country to recover some secret information for the government.
Securing the premises with high-tech equipment, Wolfe prepares to lock down the fort for the weekend. But despite his superior training and experience in one of the world's toughest organizations, this officer is completely out of his element in the world of diapers, teen drivers and den mothering. As well, his new troops, Zoe (Brittnay Snow), Seth (Max Thieriot), Lulu (Morgan York), Peter (Kegan and Logan Hoover) and Tyler (Bo and Luke Vink), are anything but well-ordered soldiers.
The situation takes a turn for the worse when Helga (Carol Kane), the Romanian nanny, goes AWOL and mom gets delayed, leaving Wolfe to manage a week's worth of school schedules, extracurricular activities and communications with a moronic Vice Principle (Brad Garrett).
Although he doesn't stray far from his tough guy persona, Wolfe is willing to trade-in detonators for dirty diapers (a gag that gets more than enough play time) to complete his mission. Unfortunately, diapers aren't the only things that get a little stinky in this script. Stereotypical depictions of ethnic bad guys and an inept school authority figure who verbally assaults the pupils, are annoying. Especially when the plot presents no other option than a physically humiliating showdown between the VP and the buff agent that takes place in front of the entire student body.
However, despite the abundance of combat, both the conscripts and their captain manage to make it through boot camp. While Wolfe brings order and discipline to the out-of-control household, he also develops an appreciation for the kids and helps them realize their own potential. They, in turn, give the military man a glimpse of the family life he never had.
With a long list of adult-oriented film credits, most of Vin Diesel's motion picture appearances don't fall into the realm of family fare. This movie, however, may be one way parents can pacify their older children's desire to see the bulky action hero on the big screen.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Pacifier.
Movies often use stereotypes in order to save time on character development and get into the story. How are school authorities, teens and ethnic groups portrayed in this film? What are the problems with using this approach?
How is conflict resolution depicted in this film? In what ways do the characters successfully deal with disputes? What options do you consider when dealing with difficult people?