Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)
USA / English
"This Christmas The More... The Scarier! "With his wife doing a book tour, a father of twelve must handle a new job and his unstable brood.
Not as good as the original, but still very good
Tom (Steve Martin) and Kate Baker (Bonnie Hunt) have a Baker's
dozen--children, that is. When Tom, a football coach, gets a job offer
to coach a college football team just outside of Chicago, and Kate's
book about raising 12 children finally gets a publishing offer, they
see bright things for their future. The only problem is that their 12
children do not want to move from their rural Illinois home, and things
become nearly disastrous when Kate has to leave for a couple weeks to
promote her book.
While I didn't enjoy Cheaper By The Dozen as much as the original
version of the film from 1950, the 2003 "re-imagining" is still a 9 out
of 10 for me (the original was a 10 out of 10 for me). It's a
re-imagining rather than a remake because although the overall plot arc
has some similarities, these are two very different films, with very
different messages, and very different kinds of families. Both are
rather cartoonish, which works for me--I don't require much realism in
my films. For anyone who is looking for something primarily believable,
Cheaper By The Dozen may not fit the bill.
The major change from the original to the new film is a change from
control to near-chaos. In the Baker's case, it doesn't take long to
realize that the chaos arises from their lack of disciplining their
children. While this may not be realistic (surely anyone planning to
have a family this large would realize that discipline and control
would be necessary to not have one's home destroyed), it does lead to a
lot of comic situations, and that's really the point here. Yes, there
is a message in the end about putting family first, but what director
Shawn Levy really wants you to do is laugh. My wife and I laughed quite
a bit while watching the film, so Levy accomplished his goal with us.
My only slight complaint on this end was that some of the funniest
material involved the eldest Baker daughter's boyfriend, Hank (Ashton
Kutcher), and he just wasn't in the film enough. The material about the
Shenk's, neighbors of the Baker's, was also funny and a bit underused.
This was the reason for lowering my score 1 point.
The rest of the cast is good, although like the original Cheaper By The
Dozen, we barely get to know some of the children, but that's
understandable when we have to deal with 14 characters as well as
ancillary characters. Steve Martin was excellent, as always (I enjoy
his work in even his less popularly appreciated films), and although
Hilary Duff (as daughter Lorraine Baker) seemed a bit odd in the
context of the family, I enjoyed her performance a lot, also. There's
something about her that I like, and it's not just her looks.
|Nr of disks/tapes:||1|
|Storage device:||Divx 5|