Every year, Hollywood can be counted on to deliver an action-star-meets-children comedy that reinforces the "fish out of water" trope and shows the hero in ridiculous and embarrassing situations (and, more likely than not, clothing).

This month, we get two, with that well-worn juxtaposition between tough muscleman and precocious child playing out yet again in 'The Spy Next Door,' (a movie, as comedian Gil Ozeri pointed out, that's allegedly about Asian marionettes) and 'The Tooth Fairy' (Tagline: "You Can't Handle the Tooth").

We're not saying these latest movies are bad (you can bet the kiddies will love them), but we will say if history is any guide, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jackie Chan have a long road ahead of them to find success. We figured now was as good a time as any to look at the action hero/child star paradigm. What you will not find on our list of travesties: the lone exception -- the still-thoroughly enjoyable Governator-starring 'Kindergarten Cop.' Every year, Hollywood can be counted on to deliver an action-star-meets-children comedy that reinforces the "fish out of water" trope and shows the hero in ridiculous and embarrassing situations (and, more likely than not, clothing).

This month, we get two, with that well-worn juxtaposition between tough muscleman and precocious child playing out yet again in 'The Spy Next Door,' (a movie, as comedian Gil Ozeri pointed out, that's allegedly about Asian marionettes) and 'The Tooth Fairy' (Tagline: "You Can't Handle the Tooth").

We're not saying these latest movies are bad (you can bet the kiddies will love them), but we will say if history is any guide, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and Jackie Chan have a long road ahead of them to find success. We figured now was as good a time as any to look at the action hero/child star paradigm. What you will not find on our list of travesties: the lone exception -- the still-thoroughly enjoyable Governator-starring 'Kindergarten Cop.'


The Rock in 'The Game Plan' (2007)
Billed (by me) as "'The Longest Yard' meets punching yourself in the head repeatedly," 'The Game Plan' sees The Rock/Dwayne Johnson as a star quarterback who scores a daughter he never knew he had. Putting aside the curious lack of scenes where Johnson repeatedly denies the child is his and/or tries to blackmail the mother to not go to the press, The Rock gets laughs by putting on a tutu and taking off his dignity. Wrestling fans everywhere weep.


Vin Diesel in 'The Pacifier' (2005)
When the scientist former Navy SEAL Vin Diesel is protecting gets murdered and his project remains at home, Diesel must bodyguard the scientist's widow and four kids. We can all agree that the brutal murder of a father is a hilarious comedy setup for children, but wait till Vin tries to interact with kids. Go for the semi-clever titular play on words, stay for, um.....


Chuck Norris in 'Sidekicks' (1993)
In the classic nerd-shows-them-all tradition of feel-good movies, Jonathan Brandis ('Ladybugs') gets bullied for his asthma and retreats into a world where he's the bad-ass sidekick of Chuck Norris. Inconveniently for him, but conveniently for the plot, he finds out he needs a fourth member to compete in a local karate tournament. We don't want to give away the surprise teammate, but 'Sidekicks' was directed by Aaron NORRIS so draw your own conclusions.


Michael Clarke Duncan in 'See Spot Run' (2001)
Fresh off 'Armageddon' and 'The Green Mile,' giant actor Michael Clarke Duncan decided the best way to capitalize on his newfound success was this comedy about a Mafia kingpin who wants revenge on the FBI-trained bulldog that bit him. Hijinks abound. Dog puns ensue. And Tom Hanks contemplates a copyright lawsuit for 'Turner and Hooch' (presumably).


Burt Reynolds in 'Cop and a Half' (1993)
Black/white. Adult/child. Cop/witness. If there's a cinematic dichotomous cliché this movies doesn't hit, we're still looking for it. When Norman D. Golden II (now a rapper named Enormus, go figure) witnesses a murder, he forces the police to make him a cop before identifying the killer. Partnering up with child-hating Reynolds, shenanigans, as is usually the case, follow. We were hoping for scenes of Golden brutally and violently interrogating a witness, but instead we get a lot of "Hey mister"s and "What do you want, kid?"


Dolph Lundgren in 'Masters of the Universe' (1987)
We'll cop bias that this is undoubtedly the best movie on this list. We've already written why we love Lundgren so much, and this film, where Lundgren plays the live-action version of the classic action figure He-Man, is a major work in the DL canon. Way before he nailed the role of Richard Nixon, look for Frank Langella as He-Man's evil nemesis Skeletor.


Patrick Swayze in 'Father Hood' (1993)
Along with 'The Pacifier,' this one's the strangest premise for a family comedy. Patrick Swayze is a con man who rescues his children from a crooked, child-abusing orphanage and takes them on a cross-country police-fleeing trip. 'Hood' marked actor Brian Bonsell's juiciest role since Andrew Keaton on 'Family Ties.'



And finally, like 'The Godfather' or 'Lord of the Rings,' a trilogy* comes along that rewrites the rules of filmmaking. Classic, thy name is Hulk Hogan.


'Suburban Commando' (1991)
In this sci-fi comedy, the Hulkster is a interplanetary superhero with more brains than brawn whose ship gets damaged in a celestial battle. To kill time while his vessel gets fixed, he hangs out with Christopher Lloyd, Shelley Duvall and their family and, being the consummate hero, fights crime on our planet. Yep.



'Mr. Nanny' (1993)
In a stretch, Hogan plays a retired wrestler that does little except fish and make bad movies (OK, last part made up.) After taking on a bodyguard gig protecting the children of a rich professor, evil scientist Buster Poindexter kidnaps the children and it's up to Hogan to save them. We still want to know who said, "Hey, you know who would make a great villain? The "Hot, Hot, Hot" guy."


'Santa With Muscles' (1996)
In the interest of full disclosure, we didn't even know this one existed until we started researching this piece. Apparently, Hulk is a rich but obnoxious businessman who, after fleeing from the cops, ends up in a Santa suit with amnesia and goes around helping people. Okay. Let's just all pretend this one doesn't really exist and go back to talking about 'Masters of the Universe.'

*Maybe it's not a trilogy in the strict sense of the word, but you get the point.

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