30 Movies in 30 Days: Daddy Day Care

Had I seen it before: Yes. It’s one of my faves!!

What IMDb says: Two men get laid off and have to become stay-at-home dads when they can’t find jobs. This inspires them to open their own day-care center.

Requirements fulfilled: 

– No new requirements fulfillled

Why I picked it: I thought it’d be cute to do a Father’s Day themed movie. This is the first one I thought of.

Why I liked it: I couldn’t appreciate this when I was younger, but Daddy Day Care exemplifies both feminist and free market values.

It didn’t really sink in until now just how bad Charlie and Phil felt about being stay-at-home dads. They genuinely believed they were failures as fathers because they were no longer breadwinners. While yes, part of why they started Daddy Day Care was to help pay the bills, their whole character arc is about learning to value the relationships they have with their children over the money they could earn in other jobs. There’s something compelling about that and I genuinely cannot think of another movie that has a similar arc. The movie also points out how odd it is that we think it’s “weird” for men to even want childcare careers or find that type of work fulfilling.

I also love how this movie did a great job of characterizing the different children that go to Daddy Day Care. Most have a primary conflict or flaw all of which serves to present our protagonists with more obstacles and make the movie more interesting.

Why I didn’t like it: There’s a few changes I’d make if I could though most of them do fall under that umbrella of “nitpicking”.

There’s the on-the-nose dialog early on where one mom says “If someone opened a decent daycare program around here they’d make a killing!” to Charlie and Phil.

It’s also a little ridiculous to me that they made a point of saying how Charlie and his family were strapped for cash, hence needing to pull Ben out of Chapman Academy, yet it looks like Charlie spent at least a grand on various toys and knick knacks prior to opening the daycare center.

I also think they could’ve done a better job of showing how Daddy Day Care actually helped some of the different kids grow. For example Crispin is rude and violent towards the beginning of the movie but at the end of the movie he’s the most polite kid Charlie knows. We don’t really get any scene explaining when or why this transition happened, just that Daddy Day care deserves credit for it.

Will I watch it again: Probably. It’s a fun movie.

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