Australian Council on Children and the Media

Daddy Day Care

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Short takes

Parental guidance under 5 (Viol)

Age
4
5
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15
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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Daddy Day Care
  • a review of Daddy Day Care completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 26 June 2003.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Parental guidance
Children 5-15 Should be okay for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Daddy Day Care
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 92 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Charlie is an advertising executive and father of Ben aged four. Charlie suddenly finds himself without a job. His wife had previously decided to return to work as a lawyer and they had enrolled Ben in an exclusive, ridiculously expensive child care centre where everyone wears a uniform including the employees. Children are rigidly disciplined and are taught languages and martial arts, amongst other subjects, under the strict rule of Miss Harridan. After weeks of unsuccessfully trying to find another job, Charlie, while watching Ben playing in a playground with other children, hears one of the mothers casually remark on the need for a day care centre as an alternative to currently available preschools in the area. Charlie decides to open his own Daddy Day Care centre with his friend Phil who was also retrenched.

Daddy Day Care is at first a disaster as Charlie and Phil have little to no idea about how to look after young children with chaos and much hilarity reigning for the first few days. However as things settle down, more children start to come to the centre and Charlie realises that it isn’t enough to just ‘mind’ the children and that they need organised activities in a playful environment to make the care centre worthwhile.

Meanwhile Miss Harridan is losing pupils and so gets the authorities involved to try and close the Daddy Day Care Centre. This in fact has the opposite effect as Charlie and Phil, continue to improve the centre to meet the required standards. Daddy Day Care has to move into larger premises and becomes a centre where children can play and have fun while learning at the same time much to the chagrin of Miss Harridan. This is when Charlie’s old boss rings up to offer him his old job back at an increased salary and Charlie has to decide what is more important to him: the money or looking after the children.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is quite a bit of slapstick violence in this movie including the following:

  • Phil gets knocked over by a child on a swing
  • Ben walks into a door while Charlie is holding his hand
  • A child karate-kicks Phil in the groin causing him to roll on the ground in pain
  • Phil staples his thumb while putting up a poster
  • A child kicks Charlie in the shins
  • Children go berserk after eating junk food and have pillow fights, breaking objects in the room
  • Phil and Charlie dress up as a carrot and broccoli and have a fight
  • Marvin dresses up as Darth Vader and the children have sword fights

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

There is nothing in this movie that would scare young children, although parents may like to note two scenes that could cause concern in some children. In one scene, when Ben’s parents are looking for a cheaper child care centre, they are taken by an elderly couple around to the back of the house and the old man opens the cellar door implying that the children are kept shut in the cellar. In another scene, one of the children’s pets, a tarantula, escapes and it appears on Phil’s head. This could be quite scary for children who are afraid of spiders.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may also be disturbed be the above-mentioned scenes.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

There is nothing in this movie that would scare older children.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

There is nothing in this movie that would scare children in this age group.

Sexual references

There are no sexual references.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is no nudity or sexual activity.

Use of substances

A female child care worker is shown with a cigarette dangling out of her mouth.

Coarse language

There is no coarse language, although there is the occasional ‘Oh my God’.

In a nutshell

The take home message in this movie is that children need a happy, caring, organised fun environment to learn and grow in, not a highly controlled, regimented one.

Values that parents may wish to encourage include:

  • people are more important than possessions
  • love and nurture.

There are quite a few examples of behaviour that parents may wish to discourage such as:

  • kicking
  • running on a piano
  • drinking bubble blowing liquid and blowing bubbles out of mouth
  • climbing up curtains
  • riding a ride on mower
  • having pillow fights
  • pulling a down pipe off the wall
  • bribing a child with money to stop him crying
  • Charlie and Phil are being called names such as ‘unnatural’ and ‘queeros’.

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