Vin Diesel stars in his first family comedy. After a rescue mission to save government scientist Howard Plummer ends with the scientist dead and Navy Seal Shane Wolfe (Diesel) in the hospital, Shane is sent to protect the deceased scientist's family while their mother Julie (Faith Ford) and Shane's superior Captain Bill Fawcett (Chris Potter) goes to Zurich, Switzerland, to retrieve a deposit box her husband had left there. Initially, the five kids, Alpha Bitch wannabe Zoe (Brittany Snow), rebel without a cause Seth (Max Thieriot), Firefly Scout Lulu (Morgan York), toddler Peter, and baby Tyler, cannot stand their new guardian and do everything they can think of to get him out. In response, Shane treats the family to some military style discipline.
Things aren't much better at school. While Principal Claire Fletcher (Lauren Graham) allows him to be there to protect the kids, Vice Principal Jerkass Dwayne Murney (Brad Garrett) — who actively dislikes Seth, particularly when he quits the wrestling team — is a totally different matter. As Shane tries to deal with him and come to some sort of agreeable arrangement with the kids, he tries to find the missing satellite program, all while dealing with a pair of masked ninjas who are looking for the same.
They get word that their mother cannot get the box until she can supply the correct password, so she ends up staying for a lot longer. As time goes on, Shane finds himself warming up to the kids, and the feelings are eventually reciprocated. In the end, Shane becomes a surrogate father to the kids, and, with their help, he saves their father's research from falling into enemy hands.
This film provides examples of:
- Action-Hero Babysitter: Vin Diesel plays a Navy SEAL tasked with babysitting.
- Amazon Brigade: Lulu's Firefly troop becomes this, due to having Shane as a den mother.
- Bald of Awesome: Shane (well, technically a shaved head, but hey...)
- Bound and Gagged: Happens to the kids, before they quickly and silently Slip The Ropes.
- Chekhov's Gun: The Peter Panda dance. It's the means for surviving GHOST's very large array of traps.
- The Comically Serious: Shane puts his SEAL training into every aspect of the family.
- Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Zoe covers Tyler's eyes when Murney comes out in a nasty looking wrestling outfit.
Brad Garrett: But they made me wear in the wrestling sequence, which if you wanna cut to that right now. (small inset screen at the bottom corner showing Brad in the outfit) Please don't watch this if you've already had dinner. I'm sorry, it's a little frightening. It's a bad outfit for me.
- Brad Garrett himself feels very embarrassed about being forced to wear that nasty wrestling outfit as proven in a behind-the-scenes featurette. The first 30 seconds of the featurette shows montages of him in the wrestling outfit doing silly poses until Brad begs while blocking the camera "Please! This has gotta stop! Enough! Enough!"
- Cultured Warrior: When Shane finds out Seth is sneaking out to rehearsals for The Sound of Music, he is impressed, even taking over as director when the first one quits. He even remarks that The Sound of Music is his favorite musical because "a nun giving up the habit for a military guy" can't be all bad.
- Dean Bitterman: Principal Claire Fletcher is a Reasonable Authority Figure. Vice Principal Dwayne Murney, on the other hand, is an egotistical Jerkass who clearly has it out for the Plummers (especially Seth).
- Death Course: One of the more ludicrous examples.
- Dynamic Entry: Shane kicks Seth's door down (worried about bad guys), not knowing Seth was in the bathroom across the hall.
- Elaborate Underground Base: It turns out that Howard somehow managed to outfit his house with a high-tech underground safe (complete with Death Course) without his family ever realizing.
- Fatal Family Photo: Howard Plummer shows Shane a photo of his family just before getting killed by Serbian rebels.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the Time-Compression Montage, one of the diaper changing scenes shows Tyler's genitals briefly.
- It should be noted that infants get a pass on such issues as long as it's not focused on.
- Getting the Baby to Sleep: Shane (a reluctant babysitter) has to learn the "Peter Panda Dance" (and the song that goes along with it), which is the only way to get one of the kids to go to sleep.
- Gratuitous Ninja: They're secretly the Plummer's neighbors.
- Groin Attack: Garry the duck bites a terrorist there.
- Earlier, Lulu kicks the Male Ninja Mr. Chun in the crotch.
- Hate Sink: Vice Principal Murney.
- I Know Karate: After being harassed by a rival troop of boy scouts, Shane teaches the Fireflies to defend themselves. The next time the boys try something, the girls give them a beatdown that ends with them tied to each other, bound with their neckerchiefs and gagged with cookies.
- Improbable Parking Skills: Shane and Zoe have them.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Shane. He can be pretty aloof and rather stubborn and impatient with the kids, but he has a good heart and teaches the kids how to handle their problems and encourages them to do what makes them happy in various ways.
- Also Vice Principal Murney.
- Lock and Load Montage: Parodied as Shane "suits up" with diapers, baby bottles, etc. as he gets ready to take the kids to school.
- Also played straight in the opening scene.
- Meaningful Echo: "You do things my/our way! No highway option!"
- Mistaken for Subculture: Seth, the older son, is mistaken for a Neo-Nazi when he dyes his hair blond and a swastika was found in his locker. Turns out that he was actually playing Rolf in The Sound of Music.
- The Mole: The Plummer's neighbors are secretly North Korean spies, and Shane's superior Captain Fawcett plans to sell GHOST to North Korea once it's found.
- Mr. Fanservice: Shane goes shirtless at one point.
- Reluctant Fanservice Guy: He's pretty embarrassed when seen by Lulu and her Firefly troop in that state, though.
- My Favorite Shirt: Shane's shirt gets mustard and bologna on it, prompting this phrase.
- Also hilarious considering all of his shirts are the same!
- Never Trust a Trailer: The promotional trailer combines a scene of Shane preparing to drive the family minivan to school, answered by the younger daughter dramatically leaping out to kiss the ground after the van finally comes to a stop. The latter scene is actually in response to the older daughter's first driving lesson with the van, rather than Shane's Badass Driver skills.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Seth and Zoe pour cooking oil on the stairs, hoping that Shane will slip on it. Instead, Helga the nanny does and then does a rather bad topple down the stairs. This causes Helga to quit and leave in a rage despite Shane's attempts to stop her from leaving.
- Parental Abandonment: Shane was raised by his father (his mother left when he was very little) who sent him off to military school so that he could keep being a soldier. He was then killed in action.
- Physical Fitness Punishment: Zoey's boyfriend Scott tries to sneak in through a window, setting off the alarm. Shane, catches Scott and tells him to give him twenty.Shane: Gimme 20. (Scott takes out his wallet) I meant push-ups!
- Sadist Teacher: Dwayne Murney, while not really a sadist, is an arrogant and abusive wrestling coach.
- Slipped the Ropes: Two of the kids do this, silently and impressively.
- Shout-Out: The kids' mother's name Julie Plummer is an explicit reference to The Sound of Music stars Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.
- There are many references to The Sound Of Music, all the way up to comparing the movie to the musical itself.
- Suck E. Cheese's: Woody Woodchuck's. It does not look like a very fun place to be with kids screaming and fighting, and the employees wearing terrible-looking around-the-head braces ...Shane: And they say war is hell.
- Time-Compression Montage: Shows Shane warming up to the family, Zoe's driving skills improving, Seth practicing for the play, Lulu and her scouts learning martial arts, and Shane learning how to change a diaper.
- Title Drop: Shane is describing his special ops wrestling grapples with one in particular (and his personal favorite) called "the Pacifier." Just so you know, it involves putting the opponent's fingers in said opponent's own mouth.
- Token Romance: Shane and Claire.
- To the Pain: Shane describes the exact grapples he pulls on the wrestling coach as he is doing them.
- Ungrateful Bitch: Shown during the Wild Teen Party below. Zoe is yelling at her boyfriend Scott for inviting a whole bunch of people that she didn't know to her house for a party. After Shane gets back and makes them clean up the mess they made (which includes baloney plastered to the ceiling with mustard), she's upset...because Scott will never speak to her again. Shane, being a SEAL, has the sense to call her out on that.Zoe: Thanks a lot, Lt. Loser! Now I'm gonna be the school joke! I don't know what I'll say to my friends!
Shane: You call those people your "friends?" They have no respect for you. They have no respect for your home. You don't even have any respect for yourself!
- Wild Teen Party: While Shane is out with the scouts, Zoe throws a party. When he gets back, he has all the teens clean up their mess.
- You Are Number 6: Given Shane's background in the U.S. Navy SEALS, Shane discards the kids' names. He labels them "Red One", "Red Two", "Red Three" and "Red Four".