Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio commentary by director Shawn Levy;
Audio Commentary by kids; 11 deleted/extended scenes; 4 featurettes;
2 storyboards; Easter egg; Hanks Tommy Max commercial.
AMERICAN family comedies, by their very nature, usually come
beset with some sort of unsubtle message, a fair amount of gloop,
and one or two precocious kids. Cheaper By The Dozen, needless
to say, has 12 of the latter, which is where its many problems
Based on the 1950 film of the same name, which was, in itself,
based on a true story, the plot finds Steve Martin and Bonnie
Hunt as former college sweethearts, Tom and Kate, who are struggling
to juggle the demands of their successful careers, with the size
of their family.
The happy situation becomes exasperated by the fact that Tom
gets offered his dream job of coaching The Stallions football
team, which involves moving from rural Illinois to hectic Chicago,
and Kates latest book, based upon her experiences of raising
12 kids, gets picked up by a publisher.
Hence, Tom is left to stay at home and look after the family
while juggling his responsibilities as coach, as Kate heads off
to New York to front a publicity drive for her novel, which involves
14 days away from her loved ones.
You can virtually guess how the ensuing scenario unfolds, with
both parents forced to choose between a love for their professions
and the responsibility of parenthood, while the children must
adapt to life in a new town and taking some form of responsibility
for their actions.
Directed by Shawn Levy, whose past record includes the equally
lame Just Married, Cheaper By
The Dozen lazily hops from one contrived situation to the next,
only occasionally raising a laugh along the way.
These come courtesy of an extended, but uncredited, cameo from
Ashton Kutcher, as the vanity-obsessed boyfriend of the familys
eldest daughter (Piper Perabo), and a couple of twins, who succeed
in bringing terror and destruction to all who happen to cross
But the remainder are an unspectacular bunch, who conform to
just about every cliché going, in order to address the
movies seemingly desperate need to stick to formula - a
ploy which obviously worked with US audiences.
The more discerning, however, may find themselves lamenting Martins
continued fall from grace, while also groaning at just how sickly-sweet
Levy seems content to let things become, or how juvenile.
Almost inevitably, the career versus family scenario involves
break-ups, arguments and divisions which all get resolved in some
way, while the script cannot resist playing towards the obvious
laughs. Hence, when the sight gags begin to get tiresome, there
is always a bodily function worth exploiting, and a yucky scenario
just waiting in the wings.
Levy may have got away with it, too, had the children been more
appealing, but aside from Tom Welling (aka the young Clark Kent
in TV series, Smallville) and the aforementioned twins, the rest
are a one-dimensional bunch who thrive on their ability to manipulate
the viewers emotions, while Hilary Duff (The
Lizzie Maguire Show), in particular, is especially grating
as a consumer-fixated teenager.
The very young may derive some satisfaction or joy from it, but
the majority are likely to be reaching for the sick bucket long
before the drippy finale rears its ugly head. All of which means
there are about a dozen good reasons for not seeing it in the