Cheaper By The Dozen

A Film Review By Jason L. King

Rating: Rated PG for language and some thematic elements
Starring:Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hillary Duff, Piper Parabo, Tom Welling, Ashton Kutcher
Directed By:Shawn Levy

Final Grade:

Children annoy me. It’s no secret to those that know me. I someday want to be a father, I suppose but I openly admit kids annoy me once they reach the age of something like 10. After that I think I would like to trade them in like you would a used car for another kid that isn’t going to rebel against me, blame all his problems on my terrible parenting and end up hating me for the rest of his life, for someone who still loves me. (Just Kidding!) In all honesty, I think that parenting is one of the hardest jobs anyone in life can have. And if you can find one person in the world, who does it perfectly, feel free to show them to me. I would love to meet the perfect parents.

Far from the perfect family is one way of putting into terms the synopsis of the latest Steve Martin flick, “Cheaper By The Dozen.” Martin plays Tom Baker, a college football coach and father of twelve children. His wife Kate, played by Bonnie Hunt, is an author who is trying to sell her newest hit book. But when trying to juggle their careers and their parenting they find themselves in a bind. Tom takes on a new coaching job at a bigger and better college, and Kate goes on a “book tour” across the country. While Kate is gone Tom tries to hold things together at home and at work, dealing with a team that is still earning his trust and a family of 12 children who are not happy to having to adjust to new surroundings.

This flick is a remake of a 1950’s film of the same name but that doesn’t mean that it is just another bad remake. For what it is the film is some good old fashioned, light hearted fun. Steve Martin does an excellent job in his role and does a nice job of mixing his “serious” side with his “comedic” side. But the real stars of this show are the children. The Twelve kids played by a multitude of “younger” stars (some of them being, Piper Perabo, Ashton Kutcher, Tom welling (Smallville), and Hillary Duff just to name a few) are so much fun to watch as they get into trouble, cause trouble or just act normal. Each of them does a fantastic job and none of them really stand out or outshine one another. They compliment each other perfectly.

For the film’s flaws, I guess you could say that people have seen a time when Steve Martin was “funnier” and this film is a steady decline for the aging actor but that is up for debate. For a fun family film you could do a lot worse. It’s lighthearted, formulaic, and cheesy at moments, but it also has a good message and is a lot of fun.

There are a lot better films out there in the world to see right now, especially as every production company is pushing out their Oscar hopefuls, but if you are in the mood for a good old fashioned family comedy, then this film is right up your alley. It’s nothing I would rush to theaters to check out, but is at least worth a rental if you are in the mood for something easy going. If nothing else it will remind you why you don’t want 12 kids. After seeing this film…I know I don’t at least!

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