Starring: Steve Martin, Eugene Levy, Bonnie Hunt
Director: Adam Shankman
Running Time: 94 mins
Cheaper By The Dozen 2 is an American film and the sequel to Cheaper By The Dozen. With the oldest of his twelve children starting to leave the nest, Tom Baker decides to get everyone together for a lakeside holiday, though the Bakers soon find themselves competing with a rival family there.
It may be on the cheesier, simpler side, but Cheaper By The Dozen 2 is still a good bit of harmless fun. With light-hearted and easy-going laughs alongside a simple and well-meaning tale, it’s the sort of film that will put a smile on your face, even if it doesn’t do much more.
Much like its predecessor, Cheaper By The Dozen 2 doesn’t really get to grips with the true challenges of raising twelve children simultaneously. That’s a territory that would start to tap into complexities the film isn’t really interested in, and would prove jarring to its pleasantly lightweight atmosphere.
Above all, this film is about chuckles and slapstick. It does try its best to tell a heartwarming story about accepting your children as they grow up and become independent people, although it’s not enormously riveting.
The hijinks that the Baker family get into as they do battle with a preppy rival family across the lake from them are what make the film a genuinely enjoyable watch. It’s never laugh-out-loud hilarious, but with consistently light-hearted giggles in a series of preposterous situations, it’s a difficult film not to like.
Steve Martin gives an entertaining and endearing performance once again as father of twelve Tom Baker, while young Alyson Stoner stands out among the children as a young girl beginning adolescence with a sweet and heartfelt performance.
With such a large cast, though, you’d expect there to be more standout performances. But for the most part, the acting here is far from memorable, even if it is perfectly pleasant.
The biggest problem with Cheaper By The Dozen 2 is the fact that it is so cheesy. Its light-hearted laughs aside, the story is as generic as can be, following a predictable and fairly uninteresting plot in oddly haphazard fashion, jumping to and from comedic set-pieces without much narrative continuity in between.
As a result, the film never proves particularly captivating. It’s fun, light-hearted and nice, but it’s far from a great watch. And that’s why I’m giving Cheaper By The Dozen 2 a 6.8 overall.