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.
Tom and Kate (Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt) decide to take the whole family on a summer vacation to Lake Winnetka, but it soon turns into a competition between their family and that of Tom's arch-rival Jimmy Murtaugh (Eugene Levy).
Cheaper by the Dozen 2 is a harmless and bland sequel. It offers a few laughs but not enough to sustain its running time. The original film was an okay family film, nothing special. The sequel is more or less the same and it also makes for a decent family film. I was expecting a little more though. There are a few interesting subplots but the main premise is very silly. I know it's a family movie and all but why did the story have to be so generic? Since the script is weak there is a lack of character development, the film is kind of boring. There are a few funny gags and performances but they aren't good enough to save the movie.
The acting is okay and only a couple people give good performances. The best performance is given by Alyson Stoner. Her character goes through the most development and she handles it pretty well. Liliana Mumy and Morgan York also give good performances though they don't get a lot of screen time. The strength of the comedy should have been the rivalry between Steve Martin and Eugene Levy. Levy is only mildly funny while Steve Martin is not funny at all. He just tries too hard and it comes off as annoying. Bonnie Hunt gives a decent performance and she has a few funny lines. Hilary Duff gives an annoying performance as Lorraine and she's hardly in the film, which is a good thing. Carmen Electra makes for good eye candy but she doesn't do anything special. Piper Perabo and Jamie King both give decent performances. Tom Welling just gives a bland performance while Jonathon Bennett only has a few lines and his character is not developed at all.
Director Adam Shankman only does an okay job behind the camera. I like the way he captures the Baker family and their love for one another. There are some nice moments in the movie about family values and the ending is pretty nice. Besides for that, he just keeps the film bland and uninteresting while leaving out some of the Baker kids. On the one hand, I wanted the film to be longer than 90 minutes so all the characters could have been portrayed well. On the other hand, if they had kept the same story and made the film longer then the movie would have been unbearable. On a last note, compared to Yours, Mine and Ours, Cheaper by the Dozen 2 looks like a masterpiece. In the end, the movie is only average but it should make for a nice rental if you're looking for a family film. Rating 5/10
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