“Daddy Day Camp,” review by Susan Granger

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This lackluster sequel to “Daddy Day Care” continues the dysfunctional family concept as Charlie Hinton (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and his partner Phil Ryerson (Paul Rae) endeavor to launch a day camp, stepping into the hard-to-fill footprints of Eddie Murphy and Jeff Garlin, who starred in the original.

Years ago, both men had traumatizing experiences as campers. Charlie, in particular, suffered humiliation at the 1977 Summer Camp Olympiad by a tormentor named Lance Warner (Lochlyn Munro), who now heads Camp Canola, a rich kids’ spa with materialistic extravagances like four-wheelers, jet skis, etc. – plus waiters and valets.

So Charlie and Phil – with the best of intentions – buy Uncle Morty’s (Brian Doyle-Murphy) dilapidated Camp Driftwood, located across the lake from cushy Camp Canola. The site is a health-department disaster – with a serious methane problem lurking in the outhouse.

Their campers are a predictably motley crew: the bully (Tyger Rawlings), the puker (Talon Ackerman), the cool girl (Katie Fisher), etc. And, of course, there’s Charlie’s own eager-to-please son, Ben (Spencir Bridges, real-life son of “Diff’rent Strokes” Todd Bridges), who eventually benefits from a cross-generational connection involving his father and authoritative grandfather, Marine Corps Col. Buck Hinton (Richard Gant), who teaches everyone about teamwork and perseverance.

Written by Geoff Rodkey (“Daddy Day Care”), J. David Stern and David N. Weiss, and directed by former child star Fred Savage (“Wonder Years”), its plot is uncomfortably reminiscent of the “Cheaper by the Dozen” sequel and its humor derives from the campers’ toilet and digestive tract and malfunctions, like vomiting, farting, bed-wetting, etc. It’s potty humor – from beginning to end. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Daddy Day Camp” is a truly tedious 2 except, perhaps, for the matinee moppets with indulgent parents.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.