Cheaper by the Dozen (2003) Poster

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Deeply Flawed – The message seems to be: "Give up; accept second best"
jfwhelan21 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I have resisted watching this film for a long time; I remember cringing when watching Steve Martin in the remake of 'Father of the Bride' and did not wish to see an actor, I enjoy, suffering so again. Well this also was not a patch on the original, but that said there was nothing wrong with Steve Martin's performance; he does well with the material as indeed do all the performers. In fact this is well directed, and a fine film technically: it is just that the script is unbelievably awful (warning there may be slight spoilers):-

This is a film about family values, yet it has been written by people who clearly don't understand family values. There is no family spirit; no feeling that, with the exception of the parents, any of the family members cares about anyone but themselves. Of course children can be selfish; of course families have off-days; but at the end of it all they pull together, that's what it means to be part of a family. This family didn't pull together; it was self destructive to an absurd degree. I come from a big family I have a big family and one thing I know, as does anyone who is or has been part of a big family, is that big families need discipline. When you have more children than you have hands, you have to know that your children will do what they are told when it matters: this is fundamental it is simple survival. The major calamities, the scenes of complete mayhem, these at least rang true, but where was the aftermath: the parents seemed to accept it as there lot to be the butt of their children's nasty pranks. I don't mean to be overtly moral, but for this film to have worked it needed to have a moral backbone, there needed to be a demonstrable upside to helping each other and a realisation that when hurt was done, that this was bad: unfortunately this was missing even to the point that we, the audience, were meant to think it funny that one of the children was nicknamed Fed Ex to signify that he did not fit in. The first time it was sort of funny, but when it kept happening and was not challenged it became unpleasant. At least here there was a consequence, but there was no acceptance of guilt on the part of the main perpetrator and there was no evident remorse.

If you watch this film, I am sure there are odd moments of high comedy that will appeal, but, unfortunately, that is probably all. There is no pathos, no feel-good emotional payoff. The ending is deeply disappointing. The parents give up. All they needed was for the children to help for two weeks, but that was too much for this loveless family, so the parents give up their dreams, and accept the easy course. What sort of lesson is this? If threatened with difficulty, if the right thing to do is too hard – Give up! This film does not have a nice message. I find it deeply worrying that there are so many favourable reviews. On reading some of these I am relieved to find that their authors, clearly, took other things from this film; who knows, they may be right, perhaps I have misinterpreted the content. There are others, however, who seem to have read the same message as I, but see no wrong in it: this I find disturbing!
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Children Of The Damned
dunmore_ego8 November 2005
Warning: Spoilers
When Ashton Kutcher is the funniest thing in your movie, it's time to re-assess everything you hold dear.

An unworthy, implausible remake of the 1950 film, Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt unconvincingly helm a hornet's nest of selfish, ill-mannered, impertinent teen and sub-teen models in an ostensible "family comedy" which illustrates quite conclusively why some animals eat their young.

Focus groups are quick to finger "obvious" causes for juvenile derailment (video games, violent cartoons, Ozzy Osbourne), yet subversive media of this ilk - insidiously promoting the now-staple Hollywood formula of incompetent-dad-tenaciously-grounded-mom, sending messages of ignorance triumphing over experience, emotions triumphing over pragmatism - is the real black-milk teat behind every school shooting and heavy metal suicide.

The MPAA trip over their bibles to quash one-second visuals of female nipples, then permit ninety minutes of mental and physical terrorizing of a father by his children (through communal pouting and "precious" antics), forcing him to relinquish the dream job he needed in order to keep these selfsame devil-children wallowing in the opulence they have been spoiled into believing is their inalienable right – all for the petty sake of lost frogs and puppy love and hovel living.

When a child goes bad, truly, it is the parents' fault - for allowing movies like these to logjam our cinemas under the guise of "inoffensive, family-oriented entertainment"!

(Movie Maniacs, visit:
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Not as good as the original, but still very good
BrandtSponseller22 January 2005
Tom (Steve Martin) and Kate Baker (Bonnie Hunt) have a Baker's dozen--children, that is. When Tom, a football coach, gets a job offer to coach a college football team just outside of Chicago, and Kate's book about raising 12 children finally gets a publishing offer, they see bright things for their future. The only problem is that their 12 children do not want to move from their rural Illinois home, and things become nearly disastrous when Kate has to leave for a couple weeks to promote her book.

While I didn't enjoy Cheaper By The Dozen as much as the original version of the film from 1950, the 2003 "re-imagining" is still a 9 out of 10 for me (the original was a 10 out of 10 for me). It's a re-imagining rather than a remake because although the overall plot arc has some similarities, these are two very different films, with very different messages, and very different kinds of families. Both are rather cartoonish, which works for me--I don't require much realism in my films. For anyone who is looking for something primarily believable, Cheaper By The Dozen may not fit the bill.

The major change from the original to the new film is a change from control to near-chaos. In the Baker's case, it doesn't take long to realize that the chaos arises from their lack of disciplining their children. While this may not be realistic (surely anyone planning to have a family this large would realize that discipline and control would be necessary to not have one's home destroyed), it does lead to a lot of comic situations, and that's really the point here. Yes, there is a message in the end about putting family first, but what director Shawn Levy really wants you to do is laugh. My wife and I laughed quite a bit while watching the film, so Levy accomplished his goal with us. My only slight complaint on this end was that some of the funniest material involved the eldest Baker daughter's boyfriend, Hank (Ashton Kutcher), and he just wasn't in the film enough. The material about the Shenk's, neighbors of the Baker's, was also funny and a bit underused. This was the reason for lowering my score 1 point.

The rest of the cast is good, although like the original Cheaper By The Dozen, we barely get to know some of the children, but that's understandable when we have to deal with 14 characters as well as ancillary characters. Steve Martin was excellent, as always (I enjoy his work in even his less popularly appreciated films), and although Hilary Duff (as daughter Lorraine Baker) seemed a bit odd in the context of the family, I enjoyed her performance a lot, also. There's something about her that I like, and it's not just her looks.
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And the moral is........
trumpetguru27 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Let's see here. We have 2 parents who have 12 kids...naturally this means that the kids will automatically run everything, get their own way, and their parents will have no control in everything. Riiiiiiiight.

See dad. See dad get the job he's been dreaming about which means a nice raise, a better house in a better neighborhood, and a means to better provide for his 14 member household. Of course, this can't be good and the kids will do everything in their power to end this.

See mom. See mom get a fabulous book deal, pursue a career of her own (temporarily, it was ONLY A 2 WEEK BOOK TOUR!!!), get a shot at being on Oprah, and really live out her dreams. Of course, this can't be good and the kids will do everything in their power to end this.

Every chance possible, the parents bend over backward to help the kids out. The dad even has his football team practice at his house, cuts press conferences short, blows off his Athletic Director, works his everliving tail off...all for nothing. The kids still rebel, sneak out of the house, abuse the eldest daughter's boyfriend, and consistently start fights, wreak havoc, and do NOTHING to help out in any way.

The "dozen" kids consist actually "nine" kids. Of the remaining three, one lives COMPLETELY ON HER OWN and two are in high school. The eldest son does nothing but brood and sulk and the eldest "in house" daughter (Hillary Duff) is barely on screen long enough to contribute. Why can't they help out at least once? To sum up the movie, dad gives up dream job, mom quits book tour early and blows the Oprah shot, and at the end of the movie, and the kids are STILL at the house they hate, in the neighborhood they hate, going to the schools they hate...but they all seem happier somehow. *Sigh* When will Hollywood make good movies again?

And the moral is........what's good for the parents must be stopped by the kids at any cost.
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Steve Martin's entertaining vehicle with young people and agreeable actors
ma-cortes25 April 2006
The film deals about a happy family , the father (Steve Martin) is a notorious coach and the mother (Bonnie Hunt) is a writer and with twelve sons (Tom Welling, Piper Perabo, Hilary Duff..) . He receives a new offer as a trainer of a famous football team . She obtains her dream for the publishing the book titled : ¨Cheaper by the dozen¨. With the new job , they must change from a small city to the big town . Steve Martin ought to keep the familiar order involving in his own home while at the same time training the team .

The picture is pretty entertaining and amusing , the film contains bemusing scenes and continuous laughters and various chuckles with lots of fun . It's a new version of the classic film with similar title featured by Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy adding episodes from ¨Home Alone¨ as when Ashton Kutcher (uncredited) , being the Pier Perabo's boyfriend , suffers numerous jokes and misfortunes in charge of the brothers , likeness to thieves from former film . The picture belongs to numerous family sub-genre whose maxim representation is ¨Yours , mine and ours¨ with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball and recently remade with Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo . Steve Martin , as always , plays as excessive manner , making an authentic recital , if you like Martin's crazy interpretation , you'll enjoy this one . Besides , there appears as sons , known and young actors as Tom Welling (Smallville) , Hilary Duff (LizzyMcGuire) , Piper Perabo (Bar Coyote) and Ashton Kutcher(Guess) . The motion picture was well realized by Shawn Levy and with the same equipment was shot the second part . The flick will appeal to familiar films enthusiasts and Steve Martin fans.
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'Name Only' Remake of 1950 Classic is Warm, Funny Film...
cariart28 March 2004
While the CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN opening titles credit the authors of the best-selling book the original 1950 film was based on (Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey), don't expect to see a remake of the charming, early-20th century comedy about two efficiency experts (Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy) running a complex but happy family...and this is not a BAD thing!

While the 1950 production is a minor classic, the thrust of the earlier film was with the parents, and oldest daughter (the late Jeanne Crain). Clifton Webb was a gifted, acerbic actor, best known, previously, as 'child hating' author Lynn Belvedere, who proved he was as adept at raising children as he was at EVERYTHING he attempted, in the 1948 hit, SITTING PRETTY. The film was such a success that two sequels were made, and Webb would do several more 'family' comedies before his death in 1966. Playing Frank Bunker Gilbreth, the father of twelve, was a 'natural' for the actor, and the 61-year old Webb 'stole' the film with his self-effacing, 'scientific' approach to child rearing. As his wife, Lillian, Myrna Loy, who had graduated from being 'Nora Charles' in the "Thin Man" series, to being Hollywood's favorite wife/mom, shared Bonnie Hunt's sweetness, sense of organization, and dry humor, but lacked a sexual chemistry with Webb that would have actually produced twelve children (perhaps because of the less 'permissive' time the film was made, or perhaps because of Webb's screen persona). Jeanne Crain, one of 20th Century Fox's favorite ingénues for over six years, had a large fan base, which the studio capitalized on (She was actually second-billed in the film, behind Webb). Her scene at a 1920's prom, with Webb as her 'date', is a film highlight. While the eleven other children were given 'moments' in the film, they barely registered, individually.

Would 2003 audiences have gone to see Martin in a period comedy set eighty years earlier? I doubt it. And had the original story had been simply 'updated', would it have been truly faithful to the source, even in spirit? Unlikely, as so much has changed over the years. Ultimately, the film makers erred, I believe, in using the title of the earlier film, but not in the approach of making a 'family-friendly' comedy about a household of massive proportions.

With Steve Martin, who has become Hollywood's quintessential 'Dad', as a loving, unconventional father/football coach given an opportunity to head his alma mater's team, he displays the same kind of sensitivity that made PARENTHOOD such a wonderful film. Bonnie Hunt, as his wife, is completely believable as a successful author who could handle her large family and still-frisky husband equally well. She is, as always, a treasure!

The children are really the stars of the film, though, and each is special, and individual, from the eldest daughter (Piper Perabo), who, at 22, wants the family to accept the guy she's living with (Ashton Kutcher, in a funny, brief role), to the youngest pair of twins (Brent and Shane Kinsman), who make an art out of wreaking havoc. Tom Welling is quite likable, and proves that he is more than just 'Clark Kent' (For you trivia fans, Kutcher almost got the part of 'Superman' in an upcoming film, which would have put two 'Men of Steel' in the cast). The only discordant note is Hillary Duff's annoyingly brittle second daughter; she may be a 'teen idol', but she is more grating than endearing.

Director Shawn Levy's previous film, JUST MARRIED, was a loud, unpleasant, clichéd bore; in CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN, he redeems himself with a more enjoyable, richer film.

While the movie will never earn the 'classic' status the earlier film achieved, it stands very well on it's own merits!
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Amusing family comedy
Spanner-231 December 2003
A fairly amusing family comedy, with almost no relation to the book or the earlier film with this title. Steve Martin plays the father of the group of 12 kids who uproots them all to move to the big city where a football coaching job awaits.. suddenly the mom (an amusingly bemused Bonnie Hunt) gets called away on a book tour and dad has to raise all the kids himself. Interesting casting has Piper Perabo (star of the gloriously underrated "Coyote Ugly") as the oldest daughter, Hillary Duff as the teenage daughter, Tom Welling (of TV's "Smallville") as the oldest son and Ashton Kutcher taking an unbilled role as Piper's live-in boyfriend.. and poking fun at himself in the process. The rest of the kids are mostly of the unknown but cute variety,... and the kids get most of the laughs with their various schemes and screw ups along with Martin's reactions to it all. The ending drags a bit as things start to get serious and the family is on the verge of falling apart, but as long as it sticks to the pratfalls the film can be very amusing. GRADE: B
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Only something like the original
suessis18 April 2004
There is some resemblance to the original movie in this film (as well as some elements borrowed from the sequel "Belles on their Toes"). The writers did include various ideas such as the move for the father's job, the family council, the father being offered the opportunity of his dreams, the father being a somewhat eccentric and unusual character, the mother being the calm one, etc. It also borrows just as much from sixties family comedies such as "Yours, Mine, and Ours" (i.e. the son that feels left out in the family group, the older brother who give "cool" advice to the younger ones, the kids trying to "sabotage" various events, etc.).

This version lacks something that the original one had. The original moved along with the pace of the changes in the family's life as normal life does. It also seemed to capture better the idea of trying to raise such a large group of children and the sacrifices and choices one has to make. There is also some semblance of what it is like to be a child in this family by keeping that focus on only one of the children, while still giving us glimpses of what the other ones are like.

The film, however, seemed to be more of a showcase for the comedic talents of Steven Martin than anything else. It also didn't move along in the same way that the original making the story somewhat unsatisfying.

Frank Gilbreth never lost the idea that his family was the most important thing where as Steve Martin's character has to be brought back into the fold. It is understandable that he would want something for himself, but to get him to the point where he sees his children as a burden and a liability is a problem. Thankfully in the end he comes back to being a part of his family, but the fact that he had to be causes the story to loose some of its charm.

The thing that made Frank and Ernestine Gilbreth want to write about their family was the joy that they knew in living in it despite the trials and tribulations. In this version of their story the joy seems to be lost and has to be recaptured. The director and writer are lucky enough that at least a little bit does.
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Disasters by the dozen
Andrew-1189 May 2004
As a child, I read and loved the book, "Cheaper by the dozen", so I rented the movie expecting an on-screen adaptation of the book. I think the only similarities are the title, and the fact that they have 12 kids. The movie does the book a huge injustice.

Expectations aside, the movie had some plot holes, but I would have appreciated this kind of film if I was a parent looking for a family film. It reminded me of the old Disney classics my family rented when I was growing up. I'm sure that kids would love the mess and destruction that seemed to be the focal point of the movie. They tried to cram too many sub-plots into it when they could have focused strictly on the family dynamics and had a great movie.

I'm just glad I rented it and didn't spend $$ at the theater.
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Excellent Family Movie
LFotF21 December 2004
One of the best family movies ever made! Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt are excellent in this modern day adaption of the classic book by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. Although not faithful to the original, this movie keeps the spirit of the original in that it shows family as the most important thing while still laughing at the humor of everyday life.

The supporting cast is excellent! All of the actors playing the Baker kids deliver excellent performances. Most notable are Hilary Duff (The Lizzie McGuire Show) and Tom Welling (Smallville). Hilary is great as always and gets to show that she has true potential as a dramatic actress. I'm not a big fan of Ashton Kutcher, but I must admit that he delivers an absolutely hilarious uncredited supporting part.

This movie is a treat for any family. Most parents will find it acceptable for their kids. The only really offensive portion is some "thematic elements" involving the oldest 20-something daughter's living with a guy. This however is portrayed as an improper thing by her parents. Overall, an excellent and surprisingly clean movie. I strongly recommend this movie to anyone!
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miken-324 January 2005
Warning: Spoilers
After Martin's lackluster Bringing Down the House, this movie was a vast improvement. Martin is highly likable as a small town football coach who is offered the opportunity to move to Chicago to coach a major college football team. This opportunity is too good to pass up and since it is what Martin has wanted his whole life. The bad thing is that his large family, that is used to living the small-town lifestyle is forced to uproot and move to a totally alien environment in a rapid-paced big city. Martin's professional life clashes with his personal life, as his university boss wants him to spend all his waking hours concentrating on football, while his twelve children are all running into problems adjusting to the new environment and constantly need his attention. His problems get multiplied when his wife's career as a writer takes off and she is asked to go on a tour to promote her book, leaving Martin to be in charge of the 12 demanding children.

It is highly entertaining seeing how Martin tries to have his football team practice at his house so he can also watch his kids. All of this goes on under the scrutiny of his controlling neighbors, who only have one kid, who they don't allow to do anything fun.

There are some really touching moments especially involving Martin's youngest son, who seems to be ignored by everyone else. His best friends are his frogs and the move is devastating to him because he will not be able to bury all his frogs together when they die. It is an almost heartbreaking moment when his other frog dies and he gets on a bus (or was it a train?) by himself to travel back to his old house and bury his frog with his frog's friend.
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Dozen do it for me
tqnohe6 August 2004
Let's see if this film has all the necessaries of a modern film.

1) Classic title 2) Dad is an idiot 3) New script bearing no resemblance to the original. 4) Male lead cannot droll without instructions from female 5) Children are out of control 6) The man is incurably stupid 7) Mother is a wise saint 8) Father has no clue about his own home (have I covered that already??) 9) Large families result from irresponsibility

I saw and loved the original. I held no illusions that this would be nearly as good. In fact I knew it would require some updates. The world of the 1950s when the original was made and the 1920s when it was set are dramatically different.

The story is weak, the comedy is poor, the new plot is bigoted.

In the original, Clifton Webb play an efficiency expert Frank Gilbreth. In fact, Frank Gilbreth's principles are still taught in course on efficiency in industry. He was a real person. And a competent one. His son John Kenneth Gilbreth, went on to become one of the world's leading economists. To this very day.

In this one, Frank Baker (Baker's dozen ... get it? Hit me over the head with a joke why doncha?) is a small time football coach who is so inefficient that he can't get breakfast on the table and wipe up a spill at the same time. And it's hard to imagine his wanna be drop out son becoming anything but a bum.

The scene from the original where the woman from Planned Parenthood came to the door to humorous results was morphed into the yuppy neighbors, the Shenks, essentially scolding anyone who has or wants more than two kids. Tina is so obsessed with having only one that Bill is portray as sexually frustrated ... he ain't getting none lest she conceive again.

I grew up in a family of 13. While my Dad was not the modern hands on type, he was aware of where things were and how things worked. He could cook and do the laundry and get us off to school on time. And he worked hard to be able to pay for us all to go to Catholic school. He had to be efficient; every 18 months or so, Mom was squeezing out another sib.

We were well behaved. We had to be. If not, 13 children turn into the unruly mob shown in this stupid film. I knew other families like ours. From nine to fifteen kids. They were all self disciplined families. I cannot tell you how many people, my sister-in-law included, who have asked me if it was "that way in your house." People came out of this movie thinking that large families are rude and out of control.
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A good movie plagued by "Remake Fever."
Ddey6530 September 2004
Steve Martin, the former "wild and crazy guy," stars in yet another remake of a classic comedy. This was exactly why the movie didn't do as well in the theaters, and that's a shame. There are movies that should not be remade, and yet are remade anyway. You would think that an old family movie which inspired "The Brady Bunch" nearly 20 years later would be one of them. Surprisingly this is a superior remake, unlike the 1999 version of "The Out-of-Towners."

Bonnie Hunt; No matter how good she is in anything, everything she touches turns to rust. Would somebody please give me a reason why? The whole movie seems to revolve around the success of Tom & Kate Baker(Martin and Hunt), as Kate finishes writing her book about that huge family of theirs and Tom is offered a job to coach football at his alma mater, the latter of which means they need to move out. Just as the original did, the remake works because of the antics of the kids. And here they are:

Piper Perabo, as the oldest daughter Nora, who doesn't have to suffer from the overcrowding of her family, but does have to suffer with Hank a vain actor boyfriend, played by Ashton Kutcher.

Hilary Duff tries to break her typecasting as "Lizzie McGuire," but it's going to be quite difficult. Still it should be noted that Lorraine is far more vain than Lizzie, although not as bitchy as Ashlie Brillault's Kate.

Tom Welling as the oldest son Charlie hates his father as much as he hates being in a big family, and being moved to a new school where all the snot-nosed kids insult and harass him & Lorraine make things much worse.

Forrest Landis is Mark(aka "FedEx"), the nerdy outcast of the family who when the family moves is left to sleep in his own room...and it's a COOL room. I was happy when I got my own bedroom at five years old, but with a secret escape and/or disposal hatch like that, who wouldn't be jealous?

Alyson Stoner. I MUST repeat that name --- ALYSON STONER! If you liked her in Missy Elliot's music video's, you'll lover her as Sarah Baker. Whether it's plotting against babysitters, dipping Hank's underwear in meat or defending her siblings from bullies, this girl is the coolest of the 12 Baker kids. Not even Mara Wilson compares to this girl, and she was one hell of a child actress.

An unfortunately deleted scene featuring Eileen Brennan as an ailing nanny who boasts "12 years with the FBI." It was actually good enough that they should've left it in. And how about the closing theme "What Christmas Should Be," by Miss Duff? A decent message, even if totally impossible.

All in all, it's still worth seeing despite the family sappiness and lack of an original storyline. Don't be ashamed to give it a try.
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Hank Rules + Info
ashlay8 April 2005
Cheaper By The Dozen is a great family fun movie. It is about a large family, (The Bakers') who have twelve children and they have to juggle their careers and being a parent. They move from their small old house to a very large house in a suburban street because the father (Martin) gets a great job opportunity that would be following his life long dream, but at the same time his wife (Hunt) also gets a great chance at her dream of being a published writer and she has to travel and be away from her kids. The comedy is very fun and exciting as the children like to plot against their eldest sister's (Perabo) boyfriend Hank (Kutcher) and his "money making face".

Hank is a very funny character and he brightens up this fun-filled comedy with his witty comments and his selfish attitude.

In the end the family realise that having money doesn't necessarily make you happier.

This movie was good and would have been even better if Hank was in it more as he brightens this light - hearted comedy.
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Boring and Cliché
IndieSpirit9215 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I'm sorry but this movie get's on my last nerve. It's not funny or witty, and it's incredibly cliché. The children are complete brats with smart mouths and we are supposed to think it's funny. I cannot believe they are making a sequel to this. And I cannot believe two hours of my life were wasted watching this repulsive film. I have watched some AWFUL films, but I can always find at least one nice thing to say about them. Butfor this movie, I cannot even think of one. My mind wandered the entire time I was watching it, and I couldn't help thinking "I paid 10$ for this???! Honestly I really doubt even the youngest of children would find this film entertaining. 1/10, but if I could I would give it a zero. Thumbs down for Cheaper By The Dozen.
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So, Who is Hillary Duff?
zbenmt13 April 2004
Just kidding. I truly believe that some people have good intentions when commencing to write a critique. However, it seems to me like some of the people who commented about "Cheaper by the Dozen" were either on drugs or should be. Sheesh was a movie. It was just plain old entertainment. Time will decide whether or not this film was a classic. Please, take it from me don't hold your breath waiting. I'm not going to hold mine.

Yup, I thought it was going to be a comedy. Yup, I became annoyed with the movie about the time they all moved to Evanston, IL. Yup, the lil red headed dude[Mark] reminded me of the Harry Potter kid. Big deal. Frankly, the last 152 critiques were funnier, though some much more annoying in length, than the kids in that movie.

All in was an okay film. Well worth the 99 cents that I spent to rent it. Musicians1, Victor Field and Katrina Ann Van Tylor were slendid as comedic crictics. Katrina should be given the award for Epic criticism. Victor the award for best music critic and last and thank god not least musician1 The Life Time Achievement Award for lack of any structure, punctuation or thought. Musician1 is the person who I owe my deepest gratitude for getting me to read all 152 comments. I had to see if they were all going to be so rambling. Thank goodness for brevity.
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Is this supposed to turn people off from having kids?
calsinic10 January 2005
While funny at times this movie is nothing but one sad story about how a bunch of one man's kids make his life hectic and crush his dream. The movie might have been better had the end seemed more like something he didn't feel right doing as opposed to a choice made because his kids were never going to let up. Ashton Kutcher surprisingly funny playing a self absorbed idiot, of course that was because he wasn't really acting all that much. This movie really makes you not like the kids, except for the eldest 3 who don't behave like undisciplined monsters. Shame because between Steve Martin & Bonnie Hunt this should have been a much funnier movie. The two really didn't even have a chance to display the chemistry as they are away for each other for a large bulk of the movie. If you have a large family like this I genuinely feel sorry for you or your parents.
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Martin looks bored, Kutcher and neighbours are funny, Wayne Knight is skinny, end result is rather cliche.
Ben_Cheshire14 July 2004
From perusing the variety of ratings imdb users have given this little family flick, one might deduce that imdb users have had a mixed response to it.

Truth is, its nothing groundbreaking or essential, just a nice inoffensive piece of family fluff - lots of fun for the whole family on a Friday night.

But its not really the BEST thing you could watch on a Friday night, is it...? Its the sort of movie that when you see it its exactly how you imagined it. You feel like you may as well not have watched it because you could imagine it exactly without seeing it. No surprises, in other words - too many cliches. Father trying to cope with 12 kids while mum's away on a book tour - of course the kiddies are gonna misbehave. No matter that this doesn't really fit with the kids' characters - who don't seem to be misbehavers. They just misbehave when it suits the comedic situation to have them do so.

The comedy is quite lowbrow - perhaps because the director is the guy who made Just Married. Thus the predominance of cheap slapstick (bad slapstick is Funniest Home Video style laugh when people get injured stuff). And Steve Martin is probably the third thing that lets it down. He's just going through the motions here. He looks tired and distracted.

There are some genuinely interesting things in it, but: the juxtaposition between the multi-sibling family and the various only-child families which abound in the film; and the children's book author whose kids call while she's doing a radio interview and beg her to come home and take care of them.

And I never thought i'd say it, but Ashton Kutcher is one of the comedic highlights of this movie. He shows a willingness to poke fun at himself and play the bad guy (but we already knew that), and he steals those scenes he's in. The other highlight is the trio of annoying neighbours, Tim, Dylan and Bill Shenk.

6/10. Syruppy music and cliche situations make for an alternatively corny and nauseating movie. Its still okay for the family on a friday night though. Reasons to see it are: Ashton Kutcher, the trio of neighbours and skinny Wayne Knight: Seinfeld's Newman is about a quarter the man he used to be! Its a thing to see!
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Stupider by the minute
Ed-9027 December 2003
Look. I like Steve Martin. I liked him in his early films, like The Jerk, and liked him later in All of Me and LA Story. True, I walked out of The Man with Two Brains, but I wanted to give Cheaper by the Dozen a fair shake. I read no reviews, and had really warm memories of reading the book in the 1950's. It (the book) was a funny, warm family story. This film, however, is similar only in that there are 12 kids. This film was horrible, boring, and seemed to get longer by the minute. The kids' expressions were uniformly: roll your eyes, and say the equivalent of "Like Doh" or "Whatever." They spoke a rapid-fire lingo of sports announcers, and--before I go on--I say save your money. I am embarrassed for Steve Martin. There must be other ways to make a quick buck than churning out stuff like this. Read the book--it's old, but it's much better.
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Cheaper by the Dozen
ProjectAnomaly2 October 2019
This could be used as a visual guidebook for what NOT to do when parenting. Besides, what kind of bozos would think to care for that many children?
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It's great the way it is!
UniqueParticle30 March 2019
I love this rambunctious family comedy just how it is. I noticed it got a lot of hate which is unfortunate & Steve Martin really did an outstanding job in my opinion. I think it's heartwarming & fun in many ways; it's good to appreciate things the way they are instead of what isn't.
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PWNYCNY17 July 2010
When watching this movie one is reminded of the word insipid. This movie is appropriate for pre-school age children who have absolutely nothing else to do and would prefer watching images of kids and parents acting silly. Yes, silly is another word that applies to this movie. It is light fare, so light that it floats like a feather, going from one silly scene to another. Oh, another word to describe this movie is cute. Cute is nice but is it entertaining? Is it dramatic? Is it funny? The answer to all three questions is an emphatic no. A movie that cannot be taken seriously is either campy or a comedy and while this movie is not campy it isn't particularly funny either. Other words to describe this movie are schmaltzy, hokey and corny. This movie has the dramatic power of a fair weather cloud. Even Steve Martin cannot rescue this movie from the clutches of banality which can bring even the resolute movie watcher to the brink of boredom and even beyond, to the world of sleep. Zzzzzzzzz.
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Acceptable remake but not as good as the original
TheLittleSongbird31 October 2009
I did like this movie in general. There are some funny moments and the performances are spirited from the entire cast. Unfortunately, although as a remake it is acceptable it does have its weak spots. I didn't feel as though it had the charm of the original, by that I mean that doesn't quite have the irreverence and likability that made the original so endearing. There are some pacing problems and major discrepancies in the screenplay, plus the direction wasn't as strong as it could have been. On the whole though, it is not too bad. There is some nice scenery and camera work. The performances from the cast are fun; Steve Martin does very well in the title role, and the ensemble of children have strong chemistry. And despite the weak script, there are some funny moments, like the mince-in-the-trousers part. And there are some heart-warming parts like the ending. Overall, flawed but acceptable. 6/10 Bethany Cox
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you call this a family film??
rockorbe200230 July 2009
Warning: Spoilers
well, this movie starts out not bad. we have a giant family. well, not exactly octomom or jon & kate, but this is a massive 12-member family. seems a peaceful family with a hardworking dad and loving and nurturing mom. although you already notice something wrong with this picture. a big family and none of the kids do any chores whatsoever. from here the movie takes a plunge. the dad takes his dream job of coaching division 1 football, not only he does it for himself, but for his family's well being. the message doesn't sit well with the kids who do ANYTHING to avoid it. notice that looks like the movie portrays the father as selfish although its the kids who don't give a damn, always whining, not obeying rules, etc. etc. and then the mom decides to pursue her dream of publishing a book. not gonna happen, with a bunch of brats and a father who cannot fend for himself. in the end, the kids get their way. in conclusion, this movie, far from giving "family values" portrays a interesting point: kids get what they want, especially if there's 12 of them. they're immature, misbehaved, bratty, whiny. among them, the older jock son who bitches about not wanting what he wants. dude, you're old enough, get a job you little prick! hilary duff, as always annoying. the parental figures, well, they were more like submissive figures. surprisingly, the best performance went to ashton kutcher, who i find usually annoying but this time his character was funny. so i see why people recommend this for the family, since it seems like this is how they raise their own families.
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Surely the best advertisement for contraception ever devised.
nick_garidis19 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
'Cheaper by the Dozen' is a shallow, slapstick family comedy that teaches kids the moral 'if you are a big enough pain in the backside to your parents you'll get your own way'.

All the child stock characters for ghastly family films are here- the fashion-obsessed teen girl and her admiring suck-up, the nerdy boy who doesn't fit in, the mastermind, and other assorted and VERY annoying children. Hilary Duff only seems to be able to play one sort of character, the shallow teenage diva that she portrayed in Lizzie McGuire and A Cinderella Story. And the worst thing is, this is a remake of a 1950's film (based on the life of a real family, the Gilbreths) that at least retained some dignity. Admittedly, I've never yet found an American film where any of the children did not make me want to gouge my eyes out, and they do say that you should never work with children, but there have got to be thousands of them better at acting than this bunch.

This film is about an American Football coach, his book-writing wife and their twelve children. When the father, Tom Baker (Steve Martin) is offered his dream job in Chicago he jumps at the chance, but the kids are reluctant to leave and fight every step of the way. Soon after their arrival at their new house, the mother, Kate (Hunt) gets her book published and is invited on a tour to promote it. This leaves Tom to look after his twelve kids whilst still coaching his team. Of course, havoc ensues when the children rebel in more and more inappropriate ways, including soaking their eldest sister's boyfriend's underwear in meat, so that… well, let's just say it involves a dog. Needless to say, this is only relative havoc, considering their normal behaviour includes rollerblading on the top floor of the house (which, by the way, results in Steve Martin hanging from a chandelier… What will they think of next?). Another 'funny' moment to look out for is the breakfast scene in which the family manages to fit more pratfalls and flying food than I would have thought possible. Of course, everyone's already seen it in the trailers. One part of this scene the trailers didn't show, though, was the extremely tasteless gag of one child falling over in another's vomit.

There is one blatant (I mean even more blatant than the rest) gap in the plot, though- the father is an American Football coach for youth teams; why on earth should he know anything about disciplining children? Craig Titley certainly knows how to write a script that will draw in the kids, and he also knows that, being kids, all they need is a good bit of slapstick and any plot holes will smooth themselves out. I honestly don't blame Titley for writing this; it's making him a whole lot of money. I don't doubt that he could write a respectable script, but if I was him, I wouldn't be able to sleep at night having written this monstrosity.

These days you can't really expect more from a 'family' movie, and yes, this is great for five-year-olds (not to mention their parents who get a brief respite from bringing them up), but this is a film that really isn't going anywhere. It has a vaguely moral and vastly schmaltzy 'happily-ever-after' ending which was evident from the end of the opening credits and is basically just a piece of pap like all the other ones Hollywood churns out to generate revenue.

Ashton Kutcher, playing the Bakers' eldest daughter's boyfriend, was genuinely funny, playing a low-level actor who knows that his face, not his ability to act, is the money-maker (a wonderfully scintillating self-parody). However, this oasis of comedy is vastly outweighed by the barren desert of farce that is the rest of the movie.

Basically, Cheaper by the Dozen is a remake of the 1950 version which has had all the genuine warmth surgically removed and replaced with prosthetic 'comedy' (to use the word loosely).
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