Written by Craig Titley
Running Time: 1:38
as Tom Baker
Cheaper By The Dozen was a pretty good family comedy. The first half had more comedy while the second half became much more dramatic, but overall, it was enjoyable.
Tom and Mary have 12 kids, one of whom lives outside of the house with her boyfriend, while the other 11 live under one roof. They have a pretty good small town life, save for one kid who feels like an outsider. When dad gets the chance to coach football at his alma mater, they pack up the family and move into a bigger house and neighborhood. But bigger doesn't necessarily mean better. Dad isn't home as much anymore, and when mom's new book starts becoming popular, she leaves the house for a couple of weeks and all hell breaks loose. They fight, they hug, the soak underwear in meat, but in the end, it's the family that's more important than anything else.
The best thing about Cheaper By The Dozen is that every single one of the kids is cute. And they can all act. They all have their distinct personalities and even the star power of Tom Welling and Hilary Duff doesn't distract from the other kids. Steve Martin is one actor who does a great job dealing with kids and his interaction (or lack of) is what moves the film along. I thought the first half of the film where they lived in their small town and picked on their older sister's boyfriend was really funny. There were some really good gags and some sharp comedy. It's when they moved and the parents started doing their thing that the movie got a little slower.
There needed to be some kind of plot in the movie, not just humor from a bunch of kids in the same house, so the idea of having a tight-knit family start falling apart was a good one. The problem was that in order to focus on the story, the movie couldn't be funny because it needed to be serious. So while there were a few funny moments, for the most part, it turned dramatic. Luckily, the characters were so sweet and compelling, that the movie didn't get annoying or sickly sweet. There were a few tears shed by the audience (I won't admit to anything), but even that didn't take away from feeling good about the film.
Is anyone else getting tired of Ashton Kutcher? I mean dear lord, talk about being over-exposed. It was nice seeing him get tortured in the movie because I'm rather sick of seeing his face everywhere. He has to rival Ben Affleck for most over-exposed actor on the planet. I couldn't understand why Piper Perabo's character would be with such a loser like him (his character that is). She comes from a large family, and although I understand the need to get away from them once in a while, I didn't get why she would run to such a vapid person. I suppose it helped in the whole, it's all about the family, storyline in the end, but adding Ashton to the cast smacked of, let's try and get a small role for a face everyone knows. Ugh. Get rid of him!
I suppose the best thing about the movie is that when I left the theater, even though it was a Sunday morning and it was cold and snowing, I was happy that I left the house to go see the movie. Some movies you take the time to go out and afterwards you wonder why you bothered. Here I had a good time.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I would definitely recommend Cheaper By The Dozen as a good family comedy. Kids will definitely enjoy a lot of the site gags, and adults will like the little kids and Steve Martin's antics.
Father of the Bride
Cheaper By The Dozen
The Lizzie McGuire Movie
© 2003 Wolfpack Productions