Daddy Day Care

Movie review by
Nell Minow, Common Sense Media
Daddy Day Care Movie Poster Image
Slapstick comedy is filled with potty humor, pratfalls.
  • PG
  • 2003
  • 90 minutes

Parents say

age 8+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 7+
Based on 46 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Meant to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Resilience when faced with challenges such as losing a job. Finding one's true calling in life. Directly addresses and challenges traditional gender roles, in terms of proving men can also run a successful day care business. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The two protagonists turn the challenge of getting fired from a corporate office job into a positive by finding their true calling. Men are shown to be capable of running a day care center. 

Violence & Scariness

Frequent comic pratfall violence, including scenes of kids kicking adult men in the crotch or in the knees. A man staples his hand to a flier. A group of kids attack two men dressed as vegetables in a focus group. A man falls off a slide and into his former boss, flattening him. 

Sexy Stuff

A cereal called "Veggie O's" is renamed "Veggie Blows" by one of the characters. A child sampling "Veggie O's" in a focus group yells, "This cereal sucks!" While talking to his wife, Eddie Murphy's character spells out a series of words to fool their young son; this culminates in Murphy's character saying he doesn't give a "flying f--k," cut off by his wife before spelling out "f--k." A former boss of the protagonists continually taunts them by calling them "losers." Little kids use taunts such as "butthead" toward adults. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Daddy Day Care is a 2003 movie in which Eddie Murphy and Jeff Garlin star as two recently laid-off dads who find their true calling when they decide to start their own day care center. The humor is frequently puerile at best, including scenes were kids kick Garlin in the crotch or Murphy in the knees or call them names such as "butthead," to say nothing of the frequent flatulence sound effects and kids belching. There is occasional profanity, including a scene in which Murphy is clearly about to spell out "f--k" to fool his young son. Before their behavior improves while going to "Daddy Day Care," many of the kids engage in questionable behaviors such as drinking bubble soap and burping bubbles, yelling about how a brand of cereal "sucks," and the aforementioned kicking and name-calling of adults, all of which could be imitated by impressionable kids.  

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byFaith L. November 4, 2020


I think it is great I highly recommend it it's a great and funny movie for kids me and my husband watched it before we Watch it before and we cracked up w... Continue reading
Adult Written byFrxstyMax December 28, 2019

Violence and Language

Violence: A presentation of Veggie O’s had started into a fight. One character throws a cereal bowl in glass. A fight with Phil led into breaking his back. Kids... Continue reading
Kid, 9 years old July 13, 2020

Pretty good!

80% funny, 15% fighting, 5% educational value
Kid, 11 years old December 16, 2019

My Rating

Language: When being chased by police (played for laughs) the sad says “OH SH*T DRIVE!!!” When Max says “I missed!” Eddie Murphy’s character, AKA the dad, repli... Continue reading

What's the story?

Eddie Murphy plays Charlie, who loves his wife, Kim (Regina King), and 4-year-old son, Ben, but has trouble finding time for them due to a high-pressure job in marketing. When his new product, breakfast cereal made from vegetables, is a flop, Charlie and his friend Phil (Jeff Garlin) are laid off. Kim has just started working, so Charlie stays home with Ben. The only preschool in town is the snooty Chamberlin Academy, where children in prep-school uniforms study Freud, Portuguese, and SAT vocabulary words. It is run by mean Ms. Harridan (Anjelica Huston). When Charlie and Phil can't find new jobs, they decide to start Daddy Day Care at Charlie's house.

Is it any good?

DADDY DAY CARE is the sort of movie that Hollywood can churn out in its collective sleep and audiences can watch without really waking up. It's as bland and predicable as a package of Kraft macaroni and cheese but likely to please the same target audience. Its plot gives us 20 minutes for the setup, 30 minutes for everything to go wrong, and 30 minutes for Charlie and Phil to clean up their act and for the bad guys to almost win and then lose, with a few minutes for "what really matters in life is family" lessons along the way. They throw in some diaper humor for those in the audience most recently involved with potty training, some lite rock classics, and an appearance by an aging rock band (Cheap Trick) to make the parents in the audience feel hip, and then of course there are the bloopers and outtakes during the credits.

The result is a movie that is undistinguished and undistinguishable but not too awful. It sags here and there but picks up whenever Steve Zahn appears as an emergency recruit who may be a little spacey (in more senses than one) but who has knack for communicating with kids. But no one else seems to be trying very hard, including the people who spelled Anjelica Houston's name wrong in the credits (or maybe she just didn't want her real name on this movie).

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Charlie learned about what was important to him and how members of their own families show each other that family comes first.

  • This movie shows kids and adults watching the Three Stooges, and the movie itself shows adults and kids performing similar comedic pratfalls: kicking, falling, making wacky sound effects. What are some other examples of movies and TV shows in which characters fall down and get hurt for comedic effect? 

  • How does this movie show the difficulties families face when one of the parents loses his or her job? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love to laugh

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