Starring: Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff
Director: Shawn Levy
Running Time: 98 mins
Cheaper By The Dozen is an American film about a family of twelve children whose mother and father decide to move house to take new jobs. However, when the mother goes on a book tour, the children’s father is forced to balance his new work with looking after twelve manic kids.
As far as light family movies go, this one’s not too bad. Helped massively by a spirited central performance from Steve Martin, it’s a fun watch throughout, coming off like one of the better Disney Channel Original movies with some added adult humour to boot. It’s by no means a riotous laugh, but it’s a short, simple watch that will keep you and the kids well entertained.
As ever, making a movie all about kids can be wrought with problems, the biggest of which is how annoying the kids themselves are. With twelve of them, that should have made this film infuriating and irritating for anyone over the age of 11, but instead, Cheaper By The Dozen does well to make the kids tolerable, making for a much more pleasant watch all around.
Of course, the film centres on a father’s trials to control all twelve of his children, but because his problems come more from the quantity of the kids, rather than there just being one obnoxious child, means that you can come round to liking both parties, which was the fundamental thing that made this movie as enjoyable as it was.
Another key part of the film is Steve Martin’s performance. A comedic legend in every right, this film doesn’t give him much to do, but his classic comedic brilliance shines through regardless. What’s more is that he really pulls off the down-to-earth, emotional side of fatherhood. When his wife’s not in town, the father of the family does his best to control the kids, and Steve Martin excellently balances the slapstick with some very tender scenes with his children too.
Like I said, this is a very light and easy-going film, and you’ve seen everything that happens in the story before. Kids will like the craziness of it all, but in reality, for anyone who’s seen more than ten films in their life, it’s very unoriginal.
Despite that, the light-hearted and fun-loving qualities of Cheaper By The Dozen make it an enjoyable watch, helped hugely by Steve Martin’s excellent performance, and twelve surprisingly tolerable children, so that’s why I’m giving it a 6.9 overall.