Daddy Day Care appears in both an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 and in a fullscreen version on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the widescreen image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Only the letterboxed picture was reviewed for this article. Daddy never looked bad, but it showed a few more problems than I expected of a brand-new flick.
For the most part, sharpness seemed good. Most of the movie came across as reasonably detailed and well defined. However, wider shots occasionally looked a bit soft and less distinct than I’d like. Jagged edges presented no concerns, but some light shimmering showed up, and I also noticed mild edge enhancement periodically. As for print flaws, I saw a few bits of grit, and some moderate artifacting negatively affected much of the flick.
Daddy featured a natural palette that mostly looked fine. At times the colors came across as somewhat oversaturated and muddy, but those instances didn’t show up too frequently. Mostly the tones were accurate and concise. Black levels were dense and deep, but shadows tended to be slightly too heavy. Considering that the flick featured a dark-skinned actor in the lead, the film seemed poorly lit and made it tough to make out Murphy at times. Overall, the movie remained watchable and seemed generally positive, but it looked less than stellar.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Daddy Day Care was similarly decent but unexceptional. However, I didn’t expect much from a flick of this sort, and the mix served the story acceptably well. The soundfield heavily emphasized the front channels. Music presented good stereo imaging, and effects popped up from the sides well enough to create a decent sense of environment. Not a lot happened, though. Occasionally elements moved from side to side, but mostly the track simply showed general ambience. The surrounds mostly just reinforced the front speakers and added almost no unique audio.
The quality of the sound was fairly good. Speech came across as natural and distinct, and I noticed no issues connected to edginess or intelligibility. Effects played a small role in the proceedings, but they seemed acceptably accurate and clear. They made occasional use of the subwoofer; for instance, Murphy’s reaction to a soiled bathroom brought the bass to life nicely. Unfortunately, dynamics for the music seemed more limited. The score and songs appeared somewhat thin and without much range. Those elements sounded clean but too thin. As a whole, the soundtrack of Daddy Day Care was fairly average.
Daddy Day Care presents a series of extras that seemed aimed at the family audience. That means no audio commentary, and we start with a new animated short called Early Bloomer. This runs three minutes and 42 seconds and tells the tale of a tadpole who becomes embarrassed when he sprouts legs before his friends do. It’s cute but not much more.
After this we encounter four separate featurettes. Good Morning, Eddie Murphy! fills a quick three minutes and 12 seconds as it mixes shots from the set with soundbites from director Steve Carr, producer John Davis, and actors Murphy, Hailey Johnson, Elle Fanning, Felix Achille, Connor Carmody, Jimmy Bennett, Cesar Flores, Khamani Griffin, Max Burkholder, and Arthur Young. Some of the behind the scenes bits seem moderately useful, but the cutesy piece relies too much on comments from the kids, especially since it’s tough to understand them most of the time.
Next we get Meet the Kids of Daddy Day Care, a six-minute and 17-second glimpse at the young cast. This uses the same format as the prior piece and includes remarks from Griffin, Bennett, Burkholder, Shane Baumel, Johnson, Achille, Fanning, Flores, and Young. We learn little factoids about each of the kids here. If you just can’t get enough of these little nippers, you’ll dig this piece. Since I got more than enough of them during the flick, I didn’t care for this program.
Called Quiet On the Set!, the third featurette lasts five minutes, 47 seconds as it presents a look at the day-to-day production. It includes statements from Carr, executive producer Heidi Santelli, and actors Murphy, Jeff Garlin, Anjelica Huston, Steve Zahn, Regina King, Fanning, Johnson, Flores, Baumel, Griffin and Achille. We get a few decent notes about the challenges of young kids on the set, and those elements add some useful material. However, too much of the piece follows the same cutesy tone of the prior pieces, and it seems less than stellar.
Okay, I’m getting really sick of these tots. What Did That Kid Say? runs three minutes, 20 seconds as we hear from producer John Davis and actors Johnson, Young, Fanning, Flores, Burkholder, Baumel, and Griffin. They babble about how happy they are to be “movie stars” and... well, I don’t know what else. In a collection of generally annoying featurettes, this one’s easily the most irritating.
Next we find three different games. Name the Noise Maker presents a sound and has you pick the character most likely to be associated with it. These are pretty easy if you’ve seen the flick. No reward of any kind comes with completion of the contest; it just ends and sends you back to the “Games” menu.
After this comes Kid Card Match Up. This has you pair up the film’s kids with items associated with their characters. I thought it was a little trickier than “Noise Maker”, as I didn’t pay that much attention to the various kids’ pets. Again, completion simply dumps you back at the menu screen.
The final game, Odd One Out shows screens with four pictures of the kids in the midst of various activities. One photo doesn’t match up with the others, so you need to pick that one. It’s simple and not very entertaining. Unsurprisingly, we still get no prize for completion here.
The disc concludes with a couple of small pieces. In the trailers area, we find ads for Daddy Day Care, Annie, Matilda, Mona Lisa Smile, Peter Pan, Radio, and The Master of Disguise. A two-minute and 27-second Bloopers Reel finishes things. This simply presents the outtakes that already appear during the end credits. Actually, it just repeats the end credits in exactly the same format; dopily, it doesn’t make them larger and more visible.
I like Eddie Murphy and am pleased when his flicks succeed due to my personal affection for his past work. However, that doesn’t mean I have to like the results of his labors, and Daddy Day Care provides one of his weaker vehicles. He takes a backseat to a relentlessly cloying and annoying cast of tots, and the film never goes anywhere creative or compelling. The DVD offers surprisingly mediocre picture and sound with a bland set of extras. Families with young kids or the easily amused may care for Daddy Day Care, but otherwise I can’t recommend this dud.