Movie Review for Daddy Day Camp (2007)

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Review #499 of 365
Movie Review of Daddy Day Camp (2007) [PG] 93 minutes
WIP™ Scale: $5.25
Where Viewed: United Artists Denver Pavilions Stadium 15, Denver, CO
When 1st Seen: 9 August 2007
Time: 8:45 pm
DVD Release Date: 29 January (click date to purchase or pre-order)
Film's Official WebsiteFilm's Trailer

Soundtrack: order the CD below

Directed by: Fred Savage ("Zoey 101")
Screenplay by: Geoff Rodkey (R.V.) • J. David Stern (Are We There Yet?) • David N. Weiss (Are We There Yet?) from story by Goeff Rodkey, Joel Cohen, and Alec Sokolow from charaters by Geoff Rodkey

Featured Cast (Where You Might Remember Him/Her From):
Cuba Gooding Jr (Norbit) • Lochlyn Munro (Deck the Halls) • Richard Gant (Norbit) • Tamala Jones ("My Name is Earl") • Paul Rae (Next) • Josh McLerran (The Last Sin Eater) • Spencir Bridges ("ER") • Dallin Boyce (debut) • Telise Galanis (debut) • Taggart Hurtubise (The Dance) • Molly Jepson (The Last Sin Eater) • Tad D'Agostino (debut) • Tyger Rawlings (debut) • Zachary Allen (debut)

Click for 'Review Lite' [a 150-word or less review of this film]
Is Daddy Day Camp a sequel to Daddy Day Care? Well, it's got the same characters (re-cast), the same head writer, and a new director, you be the judge. Theoretically, it's a sequel. Admission #1, I did not see Daddy Day Care. Truthfully, it sounded awful, the trailer looked awful, and the plot didn't grab my attention. Therefore, I will be unable to make valid comparisons except to say that if Daddy Day Care was even five times better than Daddy Day Camp, my avoidance instincts were right on the money because Daddy Day Camp is just plain awful. It's amazing that this film didn't go straight to DVD but even more amazing it ever got made in the first place.

"… possibly the most trite, annoying, non-funny, overly sappy, warm-hearted family comedy ever made. "
Cuba Gooding Jr. needs to sit down with his agent and have a heart-to-heart or kneecap-to-kneecap conversation about what just happened to his film career. He takes over the role of Charlie Hinton formerly inhabited by Eddie Murphy. It's difficult to imagine this transition between the two actors as one is primarily a comedian and the other is primarily a dramatic star. The character must wonder if he was subjected to some sick joke that replaced his funny bone for the crying gene—not there's anything wrong with the crying, sensitive gene; and not that Cuba Gooding Jr. isn't funny. It's just that this, I think most people will think anyway, was supposed to be a comedy? Was it supposed to be a warm-hearted family comedy? This was possibly the most trite, annoying, non-funny, overly sappy, warm-hearted family comedy ever made. Was the mid-week release supposed to trick people into thinking it had come out the weekend before and they must have just missed it?

Well, here's the story…

Charlie Hinton and his Daddy Day Care partner Phil Ryerson (Paul Rae) have had a few years of successful operations of Daddy Day Care, and are eager to enjoy the summer off to relax. When their wives suggest their sons would like to go to summer camp, they are surprised and disappointed. So, they say "No." Kim Hinton (Tamala Jones) frowns and eventually convinces Charlie to overturn his decision using guilt about turning out like his father etc. Charlie and Phil drive their sons to their boyhood camp, called Camp Driftwood, but have to pass through former arch rival camp, which has since been turned into an amazing camp, the kind of camp every kid would salivate to attend and run by Charlie's childhood camp nemesis Lance Warner (Lochlyn Munro). The dads are convinced that Driftwood will be better for their sons so they buy it from Uncle Morty who's been letting the camp run into ruin. Their plan is to turn Driftwood around. Their harmonious little plan faces several roadblocks:(a) the bank is only going to give them 1 month to turn the camp around financially before foreclosure,(b) they have only one camp counselor Dale (Josh McLerran),(c) they don't have any experience running an outdoor summer day camp, (d) the age range of their campers is too large to plan age appropriate activities,(e) the camp is in utter ruin including a potentially explosive out house,(f) arch rival Lance Warner will do anything to humiliate them and then convince them to compete in the inter camp Olympiad, his camp has won the last 30 years in a row, to show which is the better camp, and as much as Charlie wants nothing to do with Lance, he wouldn't mind beating him and putting the events of his childhood behind him.

When Day #1 is a fiasco costing them 2/3 of their campers, Kim convinces Charlie to bring in his retired Colonel father (Richard Gant) to rescue things, bring order to the camp and stave the drop in enrollment. Colonel Buck Hinton arrives and immediately bonds to the kids teaching them all sorts of things and restoring their honor after the rival campers raid their camp and steal the Driftwood flag. Well, the story eventually takes every trite and predictable turn, Director Fred Savage of "Wonder Years" fame can conceive. The jokes and gags are likewise mundane. The kids are the traditional archetypes that pop up in every movie about summer camps or some are a few rolled into one. The characters are likeable and affable enough, and the acting isn't awful, it's more the overall effect of the film when all the parts are assembled. If the writer has to use a little kid puking his guts up three times for laughs, that should say it all.

It's August, which traditionally rivals only February in worst quality of films released during the entire year, so, expectations shouldn't be overly elevated in the first place. Sadly, Daddy Day Camp has helped to keep the tradition alive and well.

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Other Projects Featuring Daddy Day Camp (2007)
Cast Members
Cuba Gooding JrLochlyn MunroRichard Gant
Tamala JonesPaul RaeJosh McLerran
Spencir BridgesDallin BoyceTelise Galanis
Taggart HurtubiseZachary AllenTad D'Agostino
Fred Savage
Geoff RodkeyJ. David SternDavid N. Weiss
Related DVD

Review-lite Daddy Day Camp (2007) [max of 150 words]
Cuba Gooding Jr. takes over Eddie Murphy's role as Charlie Hinton, a dad who three years ago knew nothing about running a day care center, but started Daddy Day Care hopes to repurpose the brand into Daddy Day Camp and get to spend more time with his son. Unfortunately, he and best pal, Phil don't know the first thing about running a camp, and their boyhood camp, Camp Driftwood, with hopes of revitalizing it and themselves. The result is possibly the most trite, annoying, non-funny, overly sappy, warm-hearted family comedy ever made.

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