Cheaper by the Dozen (DVD, 2007, Sensormatic; Baker's Dozen Edition; Bonus Disc)

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Cheaper by the Dozen - reasonable entertainment... that's about it...

Dec 14, 2005
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Funny quite a few times, Steve Martin in good form...

Cons:... far too obvious, not as funny as it should have been

The Bottom Line: A reasonable film that offers a few laughs, but nothing special.


Cheaper by the Dozen is a typical Steve Martin movie – funny enough to be worth watching, but not funny enough to be worth watching twice.

The premise is pretty straightforward – Tom (Martin) and Kate (Bonnie Hunt) Baker had big dreams when they met – him to coach a big football team, she to be a sports journalist – but these dreams had to be put on indefinite hold when babies began to arrive. Having grown up with seven siblings, Tom wanted a big family – and Kate, whose only sister died when she was still very young, has no objections to that. So they decide to have eight children… but it ends up as a round dozen.

Having sacrificed everything for their family, both Tom and Kate suddenly find themselves with the chance to take their careers to previously undreamt of levels. This means moving, seeing less of the family, etc… and that, of course, is where the troubles really begin. In the end Tom and Kate must make a decision – will their careers, or their family, come first?

It’s all pretty predictable stuff, with enough funny moments to make it worth watching and a generally good performance by Steve Martin. The kids are quite good, and despite the presence of Hilary Duff, I didn’t find them too annoying overall. Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly) is third-billed (as the oldest daughter, Nora) but I found her character largely superfluous – though as her boyfriend, Ashton Kutcher surprised me no end by being genuinely funny. Bonnie Hunt proves to be a good foil for Martin, and part of the reason this turned out to be a better film than I’d expected was that there wasn’t a huge reliance on slapstick for the humour – occasionally the dialogue was funny as well. (There was a fair amount of slapstick but it wasn’t overwhelming.) The plot… well, nothing really happened that was unexpected, but then did you really expect it to? (Yes, that is a trick question…)

Director Shawn Levy does a reasonable job with this one, it’s certainly a lot better than his earlier Just Married, which starred Kutcher opposite Brittany Murphy. It’s amusing in several places (though it’s never hilarious), and the sentimental parts are kept fairly few and thus retain their effectiveness. A lively soundtrack helps things along and while it does lose its way a little once they’ve actually moved house, there’s enough here to keep both kids and adults relatively happy. The early part of the movie promises more than the film eventually delivers, but as light, fluffy entertainment goes, it’s not too bad. Recommended to watch once, but only once.

Other Information

Rating: PG (UK & US)
Runtime: 98 minutes

Resemblance to the 1950s version: I have no idea, I’ve never seen it!

Quotes

Kate: Mike, you have show-and-tell today. Please honey, remember body parts do not count.


Mark: Have you seen my frog dad?
Tom: Sorry, Charlie, er, Nigel, Kyle.
Mark: It's Mark.
Tom: I knew that.

Related Links

Steve Martin was also in Bringing Down the House and was in true maniacal genius form in Looney Tunes: Back In Action


Recommend this product? Yes

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