Disgraced Navy SEAL Shane Wolfe is handed a new assignment: Protect the five Plummer kids from enemies of their recently deceased father -- a government scientist whose top-secret experiment remains in the kids' house.
Identical twins Annie and Hallie, separated at birth and each raised by one of their biological parents, later discover each other for the first time at summer camp and make a plan to bring their wayward parents back together.
After having dismissing it as a simple-minded family picture for many times, I gave CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, a very loose adaptation of a novel by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, a try and it turned out to be a surprise delight. It wasn't perfect, maybe not even formula, but I was delighted by it. It was a lot of fun and it never seemed to run our of energy, especially for the always funny Steve Martin. Martin is back in this sequel, and so is much of the same cast, Bonnie Hunt in particular. Joining the original cast is a new set of players including American PIE regular Eugene Levy, parody-movie regular Carmen Electra and another batch of kids and teens. This is CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN 2, and if I was wrong about the first film, I was more wrong to think this one will be better.
In this sequel, the family that couldn't get along leaves all their indifference behind a long time ago. Now their one big, happy family. While going on a camping vacation (as usual, they have to live inside a rotten, old cabin), they get into some competition with dad Tom Baker's (Martin) old rival Jimmy Murtaugh (Levy) and his family, composed of sexy wife Sarina (Electra) and eight children. See Murtaugh is athletic and daring while Tom only wishes that his kids (jealous as always) would have a better vacation. So on goes a series of challenges and competitions they go through, fighting for who gets the better summer this year.
Unfortunately, it might have not been the audience. Having missed it on the big screen, I caught CHEAPER 2 on TV and, since I wasn't really anticipating anything (a sequel to CHEAPER is nothing big to get excited about). That probably helps to be able to enjoy a movie like this. But while lowering your expectations might help at being kind to your response to it, that doesn't necessarily mean liking it. Martin and Levy (funny men, by the way) are at their best efforts, as Hunt playing responsible mother Kate, but they can't shine in a script than limits what they can do. Kids, as usual, will drag you to the video store to rent or buy it, and maybe you should. But don't be surprised if you won't like it. It really isn't made for you.
Rating: ** out of 5.
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