Admiral Frank Beardsley returns to New London to run the Coast Guard Academy, his last stop before a probable promotion to head the Guard. A widower with eight children, he runs a loving but tight ship, with charts and salutes. The kids long for a permanent home. Helen North is a free spirit, a designer whose ten children live in loving chaos, with occasional group hugs. Helen and Frank, high school sweethearts, reconnect at a reunion, and it's love at first re-sighting. They marry on the spot. Then the problems start as two sets of kids, the free spirits and the disciplined preppies, must live together. The warring factions agree to work together to end the marriage. Written by
According to Roger Ebert's 2005 review, he thought a lot of the movie was contrived. I disagree. Yes, it's predictable, but that is a given in this kind of family movie. For a while, I thought this was not going to be anything special, but all the expected things that could, and do, happen, make this entertaining. Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo are no Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt, but they do have chemistry, which Ebert thought they didn't have. This is basically the same movie as Cheaper by the Dozen, so what in the world was he (and most critics) expecting? If you are looking for another of that movie, you won't be disappointed.
*** out of ****
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