Home | Review Archive | The Bucket 'Blog | Screening Log | Film Festival Coverage | Contact Danny


  Daddy Day Camp

Starring: Cuba Gooding Jr., Lochlyn Munro, Paul Rae, Richard Gant

Directed by: Fred Savage

Produced by: Jason Shuman, William Sherak

Written by: David Stem, David N. Weiss, Geoff Rodkey

Distributor: Sony Pictures Entertainment


     If there was an Oscar awarded for Best Adherence to a Genre Formula, Daddy Day Camp would win it next year, hands down. The movie is directed by Fred Savage—yes, Fred Savage of “The Wonder Years”-fame—but it just as easily could’ve been made by a robot. Equipped with programmed dialogue and perfectly-on-cue montages, Daddy Day Camp is one of the least original films I have seen in years. It feels like the product of a bunch of NYU production students who received some sort of a “Film in a Box” kit for Christmas and decided to use their skills in Hollywood-style to aid them in following the printed instructions religiously.

     “Conventional,” “clichéd,” and similar synonyms are about the only adjectives I can think of to describe the film. “Bad” is not a word that I would use to characterize Daddy Day Camp; the movie is too usual and too harmless to really get worked up over. One could make a case that its general lack of inspiration contributes to the permanence of unoriginality in cinema, but I would argue that this is less damaging than what most offensive films often do to harm the artistic medium. Daddy Day Camp will entertain children and their parents about as much as any other recent standard-issue family-film. (It should be noted, though, that Underdog is a far more wholesome entertainment available at the moment.)

     Cuba Gooding Jr. fills Eddie Murphy’s shoes as Charlie Hinton, the out-of-work father who created a day-care business in Daddy Day Care. This time around, Charlie and pal Phil (Jeff Garlin) decide to revamp Camp Driftwood, the old camp they spent their summer-days at as kids. Charlie’s memories of his time at Driftwood aren’t exactly fond, mainly because they included tense confrontations between he and his father, Buck (Richard Gant), a military man who constantly expressed disapproval in Charlie’s lack of competitive-drive. Charlie seeks to make Camp Driftwood fun and accepting toward all of its campers, but this philosophy becomes impossible when the kids of rival Camp Canola begin to execute attacks against them. Charlie, against his instincts, must call in his father to even the score and help his campers beat Canola in the Annual Olympiad between the two, a victory necessary to ensure that more kids sign up at Driftwood for the summer (Charlie bought the camp knowing that it was pending foreclosure and that it would need to do a great deal of business to remain open).

     Is there any reason to see Daddy Day Camp? No, but you won’t be in pain if you end up doing so. Word on the street is that it was originally intended to go straight-to-DVD, but Universal gave it a theatrical release to maximize exposure with a quick exhibitor-to-retailer turnaround time. This is probably the truth: Daddy Day Camp will be right at home on the shelves of Walmart. It’s a movie of modest intentions, as unremarkable as it is inoffensive.


-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 8.16.2007

Screened on: 8.15.2007 at the Edwards San Marcos 18 in San Marcos, CA.


Daddy Day Camp is rated PG and runs 89 minutes.

Back to Home