With Murphy taking the Day off, Gooding suckered into subbing in slapdash sequel

Daddy Day Camp

on August 10, 2007 by Chad Greene
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As inept Daddy Day Camp counselor Phil Ryerson (Paul Rae) leads his tired troop out of the woods, a nearsighted kid squints at a rotting log and squeals “alligator!”

“We don't have alligators on the nature walk,” Phil assures his charges. “We're not that good of a camp.”

Unfortunately, it isn't only alligators that this Camp is sorely lacking. Also nowhere to be seen around the dilapidated Camp Driftwood in this slapdash sequel to 2003's Daddy Day Care are the actors who played entrepreneurial stay-at-home dads Ryerson and Charlie Hinton in the original, Jeff Garlin and Eddie Murphy. Instead, director Fred Savage—yes, that Fred Savage—is stuck with second-stringers Rae and Cuba Gooding Jr., who seems hell-bent on antagonizing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences into repossessing the Best Supporting Actor Oscar it awarded him a decade ago for Jerry Maguire . If Boat Trip , Norbit and Snow Dogs didn't do the trick, this one just might.

The only adult actor who turns in a worse performance than Gooding in Daddy Day Camp is Lochlyn Munro, who plays Lance Warner, the heel whose parents purchased the rival Camp Canola for him because the high point of his life was beating Charlie in the Inter-Camp Olympiad 30 years earlier. When the bank threatens to foreclose not only on Camp Driftwood but also the house Charlie took out a second mortgage on to purchase his alma mater, he reluctantly agrees to face off with Camp Canola once again in the hopes of luring away enough campers to make ends meet.

Warner scoffs at Charlie's challenge. “The only thing you can teach these kids,” he snears, “is how to lose.”

Here's to hoping that the pint-sized thespians who play those kids—barely blessed with names, let alone personalities—don't mistake the lame lessons of the adults around them on the set of Daddy Day Camp as a master class in comedic acting.

Distributor: Sony
Cast: Cuba Gooding Jr., Lochlyn Munro, Richard Gant, Tamala Jones, Paul Rae and Brian Doyle-Murray
Director: Fred Savage
Screenwriters: Geoff Rodkey and J. David Stern & David N. Weiss
Producers: William Sherak and Jason Shuman
Genre: Comedy
Rating: PG for mild bodily humor and language
Running time: 93 min.
Release date: August 8, 2007
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