A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Grand-Daddy Day Care is a comedy about an author with writer's block who opens a senior citizens' center in his home. The movie stars many long-time favorite TV and movie actors (Hal Linden, Linda Gray, George Wendt, and more) as the seniors who are his enthusiastic "clients." Expect plenty of slapstick action -- i.e., falls, chases, a taser, bumps on the head, a brief fist fight, a bee menacing a carload of people -- but no one gets seriously hurt. The movie finds humor in stereotypical aging issues -- deafness, bickering, frequent urination, problems with grown children -- and it briefly deals with the onset of dementia in a serious way. A few curse words are heard ("damn," "crap," "bastard," "screw 'em"), and folks refer to peeing and pooping in multiple scenes. A sequence in which a group of older people unwittingly ingests a mind-altering substance results in silliness, over-eating, and distorted senses. Though there's plenty of farcical physical humor and adults may appreciate seeing media celebrities from past decades, it's doubtful that most kids will find the subject matter particularly compelling.
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What's the story?
Frank Collins (Reno Wilson) has a five-year case of writer's block in GRAND-DADDY DAY CARE. His wife Emma (Roxana Ortega) and son Jordan (Alexander Gonzales) are supportive, but his father-in-law Eduardo (Danny Trejo), who's just moved in with them, is making matters worse. Eduardo, who was in prison before he became a lawyer, is not only disapproving, but he's also annoying -- and noisy. Hoping to give the man something to do so he'll stay out of his way, Frank invites a few of Eduardo's old friends over to keep him company. Realizing there's money to be made, too, Frank decides to have a few more folks over and charge money for his "services." The endeavor is a resounding success. The regulars are not only a good source of income, but they're also having a good time. Despite his original intentions, Frank becomes committed to doing to good job. If only it was that easy. The local Department of Social Services gets wind of the center and an officious inspector becomes a painful thorn in Frank's side. There are codes to think of, violations to correct, dollars to be spent. When it looks as though all may be lost, and the financial bind Frank's writer's block has caused threatens everything, Eduardo steps up with a plan. After a day in court, a "dramatic" rescue from a retirement home, and some pretty feisty antics, Frank's original plan to keep an old man busy may offer a new way of life for a lot of folks.
Is it any good?
Slapstick goofiness, very broad characters, and a predictable plot don't add up to much. If you're wondering "whatever happened to?" (insert "maturing" television star's name here), you'll be pleased to know that such folks as Garrett Morris, Julia Duffy, Barry Bostwick, James Wong, Margaret Avery are alive, well, and still working. Once again, Danny Trejo tries to break out of his bad-guy persona and gets a comic change of pace. Sadly, the filmmakers have settled for a by-the-numbers plot, trite stereotypes, and a total retreat from reality or logic. And attempts to mark the onset of dementia in one of the characters feels clumsy and totally out of sync with the rest of the zaniness. Hopefully, the timeless actors' and actresses' enthusiasm is contagious so that Grand-Daddy Day Care will find fans despite its weaknesses.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about this movie's slapstick action. Why do you think we laugh when people in movies trip and fall, get knocked out, get sprayed by a fire extinguisher? What would the real-life consequences be of all of the mishaps in Grand-Daddy Day Care? Why is it important for kids to understand such real consequences?
What is stereotyping? Which of the characters in Grand-Daddy Day Care are stereotypes? Do you prefer more well-rounded characterizations, even in comedies? Why or why not?
Adults and kids can learn a lot from older folks. Do you have elder members of your family or community that you respect and admire? How do you spend your time with them? Write a short essay about a special time you shared with an older person, or how such a person has made your life more meaningful.
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