Vin Diesel lightens up and scores with `Pacifier'

New on DVD

Diesel scores in `Pacifier'

July 07, 2005|By Susan King | Susan King,LOS ANGELES TIMES

After last year's disastrous Chronicles of Riddick, movie tough guy Vin Diesel scored a box-office hit with the Disney family comedy The Pacifier ($30).

In this fish-out-of-water comedy, Navy SEAL Diesel must guard a late scientist's family. Of course, Diesel knows nothing about children, and the four charges are unruly and obnoxious.

But before you can say Mary Poppins, Diesel and the kids become best friends, and he manages to save the world as well as solve most of their problems.

The blooper reel is a bust except for the bits with the trained duck. An interview with Brad Garrett is as unfunny and bombastic as his performance is as a wrestling coach, but the mini-documentary on Diesel's friendship with the twins who play the baby is cute. The best extra is the playful commentary with director Adam Shankman and screenwriters Thomas Lennon and Ben Grant, who originally wrote the screenplay for Jackie Chan.

Also new

Diary of a Mad Black Woman. (Lions Gate, $29): One of the surprise hits of the spring was this gospel melodrama from actor/writer/producer Tyler Perry about an African American woman (Kimberly Elise) quite literally dragged out of her house by her coldhearted, womanizing lawyer husband (Steve Harris).

Gray Matter (New Video, $27): The weak of stomach and the faint of heart will have a hard time watching this haunting documentary from filmmaker Joe Berlinger of Brother's Keeper fame. Berlinger flew to Vienna, Austria, in the fall of 2002 to be a witness to the funerals of the brains of more than 700 children subjected to experiments in a Nazi mental clinic in the 1930s and '40s. The film chronicles his attempts to track down the forensic psychologist, Heinrich Gross, who had allegedly conducted the experiments and continued to work with the brains for several decades. The digital edition includes compelling and emotional commentary from the filmmaker.

Gunner Palace (Umvd, $25): Director Michael Tucker gives viewers a personal look at the daily lives of the members of the 2/3 Field Artillery, who live in the bombed-out former palace of Uday Hussein.

The House of Eliott - Series One (Acorn Media, $60): Actresses Eileen Atkins and Jean Marsh, who created the Emmy Award-winning Upstairs/Downstairs, collaborated on this juicy, lush melodrama from 1991 about two sisters (Stella Gonet, Louise Lombard) who start a fashion business in London in the 1920s.

Summer's Lease (Acorn Media, $40): John Gielgud picked up an Emmy for his gregarious performance as an old reprobate who accompanies his daughter (Susan Fleetwood), her husband and their two daughters to a summer holiday at a Tuscan villa. The 1989 British series, written by John Mortimer, aired on Masterpiece Theatre.

Coming Tuesday

Million Dollar Baby and A Very Long Engagement

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