The tagline, "From the studio that brought you Daddy Day Care," tells you just about everything you need to know about Daddy Day Camp, the so-called "sequel" to the 2003 Eddie Murphy comedy that grossed over $100 million at the box office. I placed quotes around the word "sequel" because this is one of those follow-ups that bears very little resemblance to its predecessor. Though the character names and basic storyline remain the same, just about everything else is different, including the stars (Murphy and Jeff Garlin are replaced by Cuba Gooding Jr. and Paul Rae) and the director (Steve Carr is replaced by former Wonder Years star Fred Savage). Remember those straight-to-video sequels that Disney used to shamelessly crank out to further exploit successful animated features like Aladdin and The Lion King? This is essentially the same thing.
Daddy Day Camp's story picks up right where Daddy Day Care left off. Having built their day care center into a thriving enterprise, dads Charlie Hinton (Gooding) and Phil Ryerson (Rae) decide to take on a new challenge: running a summer day camp. Of course, neither of them has any experience in the field, and their endeavor is plagued by problems from the outset. Adding to their troubles is the unrelenting harassment from the snooty folks at rival Camp Canola, led by the villainous Lance Warner (Lochlyn Munro). With campers dropping out by the truckload, Charlie is forced to seek out the help his estranged father, the uptight disciplinarian Col Buck Hinton (Richard Gant), to whip the camp into shape and stave off total disaster.
Though panned by most critics as painfully unfunny and alarmingly crude for a PG flick, Daddy Day Care was nonetheless a big hit with the kiddies, the majority of whom have never met a fart joke they didn't like. Expect the same from Daddy Day Camp, which is every bit as bad -- if not worse -- than the original. Scatological humor abounds throughout this lame follow-up as Savage stumbles his way through his directorial debut, desperate to eke out a laugh of any kind. Alas, there are no laughs to be found, thanks to an utterly wretched script.
Practically unwatchable for the first half hour, the movie does eventually find its bearings when Gant arrives on the scene. He and Gooding provide the Daddy Day Camp with its few heartfelt moments as a father and son who can't seem to overcome their differences. Sadly, these moments are quickly followed by an assault of truly lame gags, usually punctuated by a fart joke or three. By the time the credits roll, even the kiddies will be groaning and rolling their eyes.