six they just walked out"
To say Tom (Martin) and Kate Baker (Hunt) have a large family
is an understatement. They are the proud parents of twelve kids aged between
twenty-two and four years old. When Tom lands his dream job of coaching
his college American Football team, The Stallions, he relocates his family
from the sleepy town of Midland to the suburbs of Chicago. The kids don't
take too well to this however as they have to leave their schools, friends
and in eldest son Charlie's (Welling) case, girlfriend behind.
Steve Martin has family troubles. Kids running wild, teenage
angst and daughter boyfriend trouble.
Haven't we heard this all before? Cheaper by the Dozen is
a lesser version of the far superior Parenthood, which Martin made with
director Ron Howard in 1989. The movie itself is actually a remake of a
1950s film, which was based on the true story of the Gilbreth family from
Rhode Island but its themes are so similar to Parenthood that you have the
feeling that you've seen this all before.
The cast are good however but due to the scope of the story
and the sheer number of characters, many of the kids tend to fall more into
minor supporting roles. With twelve kids you can't expect them all to have
an equal share of screen time but some of them have hardly anytime at all.
Hillary Duff is one example. She is an up and coming star that is mainly
used as the dizzy, Barbie doll member of the family who has really little
to say or do other than look beautiful and give fashion tips. Tom Welling
is also underused as the family's disgruntled eldest son Charlie, as all
he has to do is look moody and angst ridden. Piper Perabo has hardly any
screen time as earliest daughter Nora but her scenes with Ashton Kutcher
are some of the funniest in the movie. The younger children have little
chance to shine with Alyson Stoner as Sarah and the twins Brent and Shane
Kinsman as Nigel and Kyle been the highlights of the younger siblings.
The movie is all about Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt's characters
trying to regain the dreams they sacrificed to bring up their children.
Martin's Tom Baker is basically the same as Gil Buckman from Parenthood,
the steadfast, reliable Dad who thinks he can cope when his wife isn't around
to help. This is Steve Martin on autopilot and it seems like we will never
get to see that wild and crazy guy that made him famous. Bonnie Hunt is
as good as ever however and is the shining light of the movie. She has great
comic timing and some of her one-line comebacks are very funny indeed, especially
when witnessing her eldest daughter and her boyfriend kissing in front of
"Cheaper by the Dozen" adds nothing new to the family comedy
genre. The cast are good but with this many characters their screen time
is limited, leading to many of them being underdeveloped. This is inoffensive,
feel good nonsense that does just enough to entertain but not enough to
really make you care.
One thing it does succeed in however is putting you off having
a lot of kids.
from director Shawn Levy, Audio commentary from the Baker kids, Deleted
scenes (with optional audio commentary), 'Frogs And Eggs' featurette, 'Dylan's
Birthday' featurette, 'Director's Viewfinder: Creating A Fictional Family'
featurette, 'Critters' featurette, Storyboard to finished film comparisons
& Easter Egg (hidden feature)
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