Cheaper by the Dozen

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Cheaper by the Dozen
Review (4/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

In Cheaper by the Dozen, Steve Martin plays Tom Baker, a father and a football coach who, along with his wife Kate (Bonnie Hunt), has spawned twelve children, ranging in age from early-20's (Piper Perabo) to two 3 or 4-year old very mouthy and very bold twin boys. Some of their other children are played by Hilary Duff (Lorraine) and the young Clark Kent from Smallville (Tom Welling). Tom (the father) is offered the head coaching job at his former alma mater, Lincoln University, so he packs up his family and moves them from small-town Midland, Illinois to somewhere just outside of Chicago. The kids reject the move, cause all sorts of havoc or just simply pout (see Tom Welling's character). Kate signs a book deal and goes on a two-week book tour and leaves Tom at home alone with the 11 remaining kids (Perabo's character has moved in with her dim-witted boyfriend played by Ashton Kutcher). Tom must now juggle his demanding new job with the perils of raising the children with no mother in sight.

Cheaper by the Dozen does generate a few laughs. But not nearly as many as it thinks it will get. Some of the funniest moments in the movie involve Ashton Kutcher. Need I say more? The kids in the movie are more bratty and bold than they are cute and funny. They cause trouble constantly. They torture each other. They ruin their neighbour's birthday party. They puke on the floor and then walk away. They play roller hockey in the hallways of their million-dollar mansion. They are mouthy. They even refer to one of their own siblings as "Fedex" because he is out of place and must have been dropped off at the door. Fedex ends up running away. He should have never came back.

Cheaper by the Dozen is not a movie I would recommend to children, or adults for that matter. It is another movie in a long line of disappointments from Steve Martin. He tries his slapstick, bumbling brand of humour that made him so popular in the late 80's and early 90's. He slips, he falls, he dangles from chandeliers. But the one thing he fails to do is to be funny.

On a side note, the one thing I did get out of this movie was from a brief cameo by Wayne Knight, who you may know as Newman from Seinfeld. I wasn't sure at first if it was, in fact, Newman in the movie. It turns out it was him and boy oh boy, has he lost a tonne of weight. But other than Newman's weight loss, a couple of funny scenes with Ashton Kutcher, maybe a few other small laughs, there is not much here, other than a bunch of bratty kids and a bumbling, stumbling father who somehow has managed to secure a high profile job as a college football coach. This movie is nothing more than a good advertisement for condoms.

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