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Mr. Mom, 20 years later

By David Sterritt / May 9, 2003



"It's unnatural!" says an incredulous mother when Eddie Murphy sets up "Daddy Day Care," an alternative to an expensive preschool he can't afford for his son when he gets laid off.

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We don't agree, of course. As moviegoers, we've seen pictures like "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Kindergarten Cop," which assure us men can be better mommies than mommies can.

We also know there's nothing unnatural about the studios' urge to spin profits by pitching messages that might have seemed progressive 30 years ago. Men can change diapers and women can be lawyers! Hollywood's liberal bias strikes again.

Mr. Murphy plays a marketing expert who makes a career change that soon gets trickier (surprise!) than expected. Kids aren't that easy to handle, it turns out. But they're not that difficult, either. In the end, we learn the world would be a better place if we'd all just learn to be ourselves.

Murphy gives one of his more-restrained performances, which suits the mood of carefully contained mayhem established by Steve Carr, the director. Steve Zahn is zany as a worker who's watched more "Star Trek" than is good for him, and Anjelica Huston is amusing as the owner of a pretentious preschool that teaches kids how to deconstruct "Little Red Riding Hood" before they're old enough to brush their teeth correctly.

If you can't afford her tuition fees, send your tots to this movie. Its amiably crass comedy will tickle them pink.

Rated PG; contains a lot of bathroom humor.

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