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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 19.19%
Average: 17.17%
Pretty Bad: 22.22%
Total Crap: 17.17%

5 reviews, 69 user ratings

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Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)
[] Buy posters from this movie
by Collin Souter

"WARNING: This movie features Hilary Duff AND Ashton Kutcher"
2 stars

“Cheaper By the Dozen” tells the story of the two most sadistic, psychotic parents on the face of the earth. Not content with starting a measly family of, say, four or five kids, the Bakers decide the planet will not be sufficiently populated until it has at least 12 more kids running rampant wasting every precious natural resource in their paths. Miraculously not having (yet) spawned a demon seed, the Bakers thankfully keep their “Twelve Pack” out in the boonies of Illinois where no one can hear you scream. This takes a turn for the worse when the Bakers move to the hoity-toity suburb of Evanston where the screams remain internal until they boil up to an angst-ridden volcano of frustration with a sex-crazed, gun-toting mid-life crisis serving as its lava. And those are just the parents of ONE kid.

Sorry, I’m getting a little ahead of myself. I’m not a parent, but I have to think that once you have the seventh or eighth kid, you run the risk of committing a subtle form of abuse in the family. After a while, I would think that parents would eventually become neglectful of one or two of the kids for indefinite periods of time, unless, of course, they have a big studio overhead and tutors on the set all day. The Bakers don’t have that luxury, but they don’t look as though they need it, either. The Bakers seem to enjoy viscously assaulting us with their offspring.

Yet, “Cheaper By the Dozen” does not adhere comfortably to the horror genre as one might expect. Strangely, the movie has been fashioned into a comedy (Actually, a re-make of the Walter Lang movie, about which I know nothing except that Lenny Maltin gave it 3 stars). The parents are played by Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt, two charming comedic actors (usually) and perfectly capable of making the terror go down smoothly, like having Diet R/C pumped through your veins instead of down your throat, thereby avoiding any gag reflex.

Gags come easily to this movie, especially when the kids range from 8 to 24. Gags involving frogs, scrambled eggs, meat sauce, underwear, buckets, bungee cord, chandeliers, silly string, and of course, the Creame de la Creame of Wackiness: The Holy Swimming Pool. I once had a friend who claimed that any movie where someone falls into a swimming pool will immediately earn Wacky status. “The Toy,” “Down and Out in Beverly Hills” and “It’s A Wonderful Life” all earn the praise “Wacky!” (“Titanic” is, of course, the wackiest movie ever made).

None of the gags are particularly funny or inventive, but the kids in the audience seemed to enjoy them and I can’t say I didn’t laugh my 10-year-old butt off at the similarly zany “Mr. Mom,” and have you seen that movie lately? “Cheaper By the Dozen” segues into a shorter version of that 1983 hit sitcom/movie when the mother, Kate (Hunt), signs a book deal and has to leave their new home for a book tour. Tom (Martin) must stay at home and watch all twelve kids for three days without losing his shirt and all while coaching a college football team, the reason they moved to Evanston in the first place.

It’s a “Can we really have it all?” scenario where eventually two or three of the kids start to feel neglected when three or four of the other kids are getting too much attention and one or two of the other parents aren’t around enough because of trying to juggle three or four careers. But, of course, they can have it all! So long as the kids hang around the house at all times and don’t develop any artistic talents that cost money, these two parents have it made.

Their oldest child, Nora (Piper Perabo), lives with a spoiled, rotten “actor” completely in love with himself named Hank, played by an unbilled Ashton Kutcher. While this bio-pic of Kutcher doesn’t really belong in the movie, it does provide us with a profound look into his impenetrable psyche. At one point, Kutscher looks at us, points to his face and says the words: “This is what makes the money. I am not that good an actor.” What I would give to be in the same screening room with Cameron Crowe and Steven Soderbergh as Kutcher says that line. I, for one, applauded.

The most sensible character in the movie is also one of the big meanies. The Shenks, Bill (Alan Ruck) and Tina (Paula Marshall), only have one child and cannot fathom how a couple can manage 12. We are meant to root against Tina and believe that over-population is the right thing to do when the children get too big to cuddle. Me, I sat there and thanked the lord for sending this movie a voice of reason. My heart went out to her, this steadfast, lone voice of progressivism.

I mean, one has to go a little schizoid after spawning a slew of bed-wetters along the lines of Hilary Duff, whom I believe comes from the same mad scientist responsible for creating Dakota Fanning. But, of course, we are meant to sit back, relax and laugh at the Wacky sitcom happenings of fourteen main characters. “Cheaper By the Dozen” won’t leave a horrid taste in your mouth the way “The Cat In the Hat” or Diet R/C does and there’s nothing truly offensive about it. I admit I laughed a couple times, but mostly I sat there and thought about how evil exists in subtler forms than we’re used to and more than this movie cares to admit.

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originally posted: 12/24/03 15:46:43
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User Comments

12/05/11 Pamela White Remake not near as funny or endearing as the origional 3 stars
4/28/08 Totir Alexandru This was a very good comedy. I laughed a lot. 4 stars
12/30/06 Kati Truly one of the worst films ever concieved, enjoyed only by tweenies and idiots 1 stars
10/24/06 Drew G I could only hope the original was better 1 stars
10/17/06 Tiffany funny, loved this movie. Haven't seen the original. 5 stars
10/08/06 isis funny but kinda borin... 3 stars
10/03/06 Alfred Guy Well . . . my kids like it. I found it a bit lame. 3 stars
10/01/06 michael pretty fair 3 stars
9/29/06 David Pollastrini had nothing to do with the original 4 stars
8/23/06 Joe This, like "Are We There Yet?", makes me never want to have any kids, let alone 12 of 'em. 1 stars
4/29/06 sahm Terrible ending. Dad gives up dream for bratty kids. 2 stars
4/08/06 Frank Rountree A good film for watching with your family 3 stars
3/28/06 Brian Meyer The "too many kids" thing went out with "The Little Rascals". The T.V. Show. 1 stars
2/06/06 Anthony Feor A very good family film 4 stars
9/18/05 tony The Best film ever! 5 stars
8/18/05 ES Are we really supposed to believe that a set of parents with 12 kids looks that good? 2 stars
7/08/05 Katelyn it was a very good movie 4 stars
5/29/05 Jake Unrealistic garbage! All the kids are steryotypical Brats! Terrible! 1 stars
5/09/05 aery totally ausome 5 stars
4/28/05 Dan Pretty good 4 stars
2/21/05 xxplosive You know what your going to get with this movie, and it is good to watch with kids. 3 stars
1/30/05 gina Good family movie. Especially to teach a valuable point! 5 stars
12/16/04 Brent I will never watch another Steve Martin movie ever again 1 stars
11/02/04 NATASHA I thougth this film deserved 4 stras it was witty modern classsic comedy with quite a few b 5 stars
9/14/04 Cobretti A group of selfish, bratty kids combined with slapstick nonsense and zero laughs. AVOID!!! 1 stars
8/04/04 Katie This movie is good, and the cast is great! I love the little twins, they're SO cute! 4 stars
5/31/04 Nobody Does not deserve title;is nothing like book. Duff is evil. 2 stars
5/20/04 Jorge The family have 12 kid and just with dad,while the mother leave.Briliant! 2 stars
5/20/04 Samuel If your older than 10 you wont enjoy it. 1 stars
5/18/04 Idiot's Mouth Yet another movie that requires complete stupidity in order to work. Crap! 1 stars
5/15/04 Jenny Tullwartz C'mon, EricDSnider, gimme fart humor over dog-almost-bites-off-genitalia "humor" any day! 3 stars
5/13/04 David Very charming and heartwarming, and funny as well. 5 stars
5/05/04 Zonia Duenas This movie is the best I just love all the actors 5 stars
5/02/04 Natasha Caminero I loved it and I love you Jacob Smith 5 stars
4/30/04 jessica it's one of the best movies i've seen. my friends all love it too. 5 stars
4/25/04 Carla hilarious, few round characters, but how could you manage that with 12 main characters? 5 stars
4/19/04 Don't want fart humor, Eric? Gimme a break! It's got the fabulous Hilary Duff! 'Twould be awesome if she farted! 3 stars
4/18/04 Jake I Hate Hillary Duff so very much, and Steve Martin should be very ashmed of himeslf 1 stars
4/17/04 Gobsmack It's KA-RAZY! But it's not at all FUH-UNNY! Martin can do so much better. 1 stars
4/14/04 Chris I thought it was one of the best family films ever! Bonnie Hunt is so great, watch her show 5 stars
3/26/04 Alfred Guy OK. But isn't Steve Martin trying too hard? 3 stars
3/24/04 Harlan Since it is about the Baker family, shouldn't there be a Baker's dozen? 4 stars
3/23/04 So you didn't like Hilary Duff's performance, Eric? Even so, Hilary's such a sight for sore eyes, I'll forgive her for almost anything! 4 stars
3/22/04 Tiffany Faye Hawthorne C'mon, EricDSnider, give me fart humor over dog-almost-bites-off-genitalia humor any day! 3 stars
3/21/04 Jenny Tullwartz (I the F_CK write some of them) Can't decide between being comedy or morality play; comedy parts often good. 4 stars
3/11/04 thejames Who the F_CK writes these other comments?? 1 stars
3/08/04 movieguy a great film 5 stars
1/27/04 emily it was way funnt and i would go and see it again anytime 5 stars
1/20/04 Brian Herrick this movie sucks if your not into the inmature slapstick type humor. Poor steve martin. 1 stars
1/20/04 Jordan Booth and kate Fox We think that the movie is really great! By the way where did Alyson get the frog hat? 5 stars
1/20/04 ayley Its cool 5 stars
1/19/04 Kitty B. i luv steve martin!!! 5 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Like an episode of "The Brady Bunch"....only worse. 1 stars
1/12/04 Ashley Crider It Was Asome I Like Hilary Duff 5 stars
1/11/04 Lauren Jake on the film is sooo darn cute! 5 stars
1/11/04 Natalie Salata It was great. But it could have been better. 4 stars
1/10/04 Mark H-V Hillary did so good as her character 5 stars
1/09/04 maniac magge that move was de bomb 5 stars
1/08/04 kick ass of dont come home hilary duff is britney spears lezbian lover 1 stars
1/06/04 monica a good film 4 stars
1/04/04 Aurelia this movie was really funny!! piper rocks!! 5 stars
1/02/04 Nick Perhaps the worst movie I had seen in a long time. Why did I HATE it? a dozon reasons 1 stars
12/31/03 movieboy Good Movie thought it was Funny wouldn't have been as good though without Bonnie Hunt 4 stars
12/29/03 I saw it Come on, buster! Why are you so uptight? What were you expecting, "King Lear?" Hysterical. 3 stars
12/28/03 robin sooooooo good!!! 5 stars
12/28/03 Boombah Baby Lame remake with nothing new on offer 1 stars
12/27/03 Two-G - horror_blood2 (aka Double G) (1 G) Hillary make me horny!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
12/25/03 Secondcousinofbonnie This is a well-acted and wittily written movie (but I am a tad biased) 5 stars
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  25-Dec-2003 (PG)
  DVD: 06-Apr-2004



Directed by
  Shawn Levy

Written by
  Craig Titley
  Sam Harper

  Steve Martin
  Bonnie Hunt
  Ashton Kutcher
  Hilary Duff
  Piper Perabo
  Missy Elliott

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