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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

Daddy Day Care and Mr. Mom (review)

Trading Places

So you think you saw Daddy Day Care 20 years ago, when it was called Mr. Mom? How wrong you are, my friend — how wrong you are. Just refer to this handy chart to discover all the differences between these two films:

    Mr. Mom Daddy Day Care
charming Dad? Michael Keaton Eddie Murphy
location? gray, grim Detroit gloriously sunny Southern California
house under 20,000 square feet? yes no
house looks like something out of a magazine? no yes
ugly decor and realistic mess, like every normal person’s home? yes no
concessions to bad economy before Dad gets laid off? carpooling to split gas money none
what can’t they afford after Dad gets laid off? take-out chicken payments on the Mercedes
men perceived as inherently nurturing and capable of changing a diaper or making a sandwich? yes hahahaha, you’re kidding, right?
Dad able to successfully juggle kids, grocery shopping, housework? yes kids only, and only in state-mandated ratio of 1 adult per 5 kids
typical household disaster under male tutelage? overloaded washing machine child’s feces accidentally end up on bathroom ceiling
slights to masculinity as a result of assumption of traditionally female duties? none many
wiseass children? no yes
adorable, precocious moppets deliberately allowed to steal scenes? no yes
antisocial, semipsychotic toddlers treated as amusing? no yes
children reprimanded for improper behavior? yes no
Mom has interesting and rewarding life beyond the home? yes perhaps, but we never see it
advertising as metaphor for unrealistic expectations of modern parenthood? yes yes
joys and frustrations of modern parenthood not sufficient for drama and comedy so film must resort to absurd villainess for conflict? no yes
dorky comedic stylings of Steve Zahn? no yes
“History of White People in America” comedic stylings of Martin Mull? yes no
chainsaws wielded? one none
people in vegetable costumes terrorized? no yes
Star Trek as metaphor for immaturity? no yes
wacky “let’s repaint the car like the Partridge Family’s bus as a symbol of Dad’s acceptance of his new role” scene? no yes
wacky “let’s see the kids tell Dad the vacuum cleaner’s nickname as a symbol of his acceptance of his new role” moment? yes no
wit? yes no

Daddy Day Care
viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers
rated PG for language
official site | IMDB

Mr. Mom
viewed at home on a small screen
rated PG
IMDB



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