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Daddy Day CareDirected by Steve Carr (Columbia, in release) Only in America could downsizing's silver lining be a plea for better parenting and a road to riches (not to mention a slap at sugared cereals). Lighthearted if shy of a lark, this kiddie flick puts Mr. Mom-turned-day care entrepreneur Eddie Murphy in nearly every scene, without really turning him loose. Nevertheless, he's charming enough in this restrained mode (as when announcing a thumb suckers' support-group meeting), and his delightful story-time rendering of Green Eggs and Ham (this book-besotted reviewer's primal text) makes you wish he'd read the whole story aloud. True inspiration, though, comes in the form of child-care-services monitor Jonathan Katz (of animated-shrink fame), who gets corralled into an impromptu one-man puppet show using Star Trek dolls—a throwaway gag that suggests a quirky spin-off, or at least another cable show. —Ed Park


Pokémon HeroesDirected by Kunihiko Yuyama (Miramax, opens May 16)The pied piper of shameless kiddie-marketing strikes for the fifth time in as many years. The premise may be inaccessible to the newcomer (fantastical creatures called Pokémon morph into battle machines that "Pokémon trainers" harness for competition, and occasionally use in defending the universe), but the tykes won't blink, and the frenetic animation will keep their chaperones from snoring. Set in a city of waterways, Heroes follows Ash and his adorable Pikachu as they come face to face with evil in the form of two miniskirted Valley girls. Two new birdlike characters communicate through abhorrent bleats that will strike fear into the hearts of every doll-buying parent. —Nat Johnson

 
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