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The "Cheaper by the Dozen" crew is back, sans Clifton Webb. Lillian is struggling to make ends meet without her husband's income, while Anne, Martha, and even Ernestine find romance. Written by
A fairly basic comedy melodrama that has a chocolate box nostalgia about it that some might find appealing but really has little else to recommend it for
It is graduation day for the youngest of the Gilbreth children and, sitting in the crowd, Lillian Gilbreth is moved by this to reflect back on times when things were not so rosy for her family and a reduced income. And so this film-long flashback begins although it didn't help my interest in the material to find that these "harder times" were a sort of Norman Rockwell version of poverty rather than what most people would consider "hard times" (they have a butler for goodness sake).
So it was no surprise to me to find that this film had no real interest in producing an actual character drama so much as churning out a cheerful melodrama with basic family morals and the Americana virtues of the 1950's writ large across every scene. I'm not sure if this world ever did exist but regardless I'm sure some viewers will find this nostalgia to be just about enough to justify watching the film for. God knows there is not much else to bother spending the time on. The humour is very basic and involved harmless pratfalls and good ol' wholesome joshing shame there are so few laughs to be had in this.
The cast aren't much cop either. Webb shows up on a picture while Loy buzzes round full of worry, love and strength while the cast of children are more about quantity rather than quality. The odd turn from Hunter, Arnold, Carmichael and others provide some distraction but this is not a film where anyone is given the material to turn in a good performance. Overall then a fairly basic comedy melodrama that has a chocolate box nostalgia about it that some might find appealing but really has little else to recommend it for.
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