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Cheaper by the Dozen

August 25, 2010

Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)
Director: Shawn Levy
Actors: Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Piper Perabo

Synopsis: Tom and Kate Baker (Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt) have 12 children….

Review: It seems redundant according Cheaper by the Dozen much in the way of analysis when it is so patently schmaltzy and commercial. Even within those limited confines however, a chance was surely missed to glean more from the farcical concept of a couple struggling to cope with the demands of bringing up twelve children. Comedy is one of the main cogs that the filmmakers use, and though there are some undoubtedly humorous segments (one long-take of Steve Martin on the phone running the gamut of his various children’s tantrums is a marvel of logistical planning and theatrical timing), but too often the slapstick feels forced and “disneyfied” and awkwardly contradicts the more moralistic aspirations of the narrative. Those aspirations are understandable enough, even if they are conservative and sentimental advocates of the sustenance of the family unit, but the attempt to cram a last minute crisis (the parents look like they’re heading for divorce) in order to fabricate a happy ending, rings a little false. That aside this is a breezy, if predictable, ninety minutes of ‘fun’. (August 2009)

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