Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005)
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Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Eugene Levy, Piper Perabo, Tom Welling, Hilary Duff, Kevin Schmidt, Jacob Smith, Liliana Mumy, Morgan York, Carmen Electra, Jaime King, Blake Woodruff, Alexander Conti, Alyson Stoner, Forrest Landis, Brent Kinsman, Shane Kinsman
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|Movie Review by Matthew |
December 28th, 2005
What Is The Point?
Of course, this is a rhetorical question. I already know the answer: "Cheaper By the Dozen", starring Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hillary Duff and Tom Welling was a big hit in 2003. So much so, other studios began looking for similar projects, which is why our local multiplexes were recently inundated with the remake of "Yours, Mine and Ours", starring Dennis Quaid, Rene Russo and eighteen kids. "Dozen" was popular enough to warrant a sequel, which is why many parents and guardians are currently being subjected to "Cheaper By The Dozen 2", with the entire cast returning for "sequel money". But it seems a bit passť doesn't it. They've already done 12 kids, the competing film had eighteen, and you can't have a sequel with just 12 kids again. How to one up the competition?
Dad (Steve Martin) and Mom (Bonnie Hunt) realize their family is drifting away. Nora (Piper Perabo), their oldest, is pregnant...
...And apparently somnambulant, as the viewer will completely forget she is in the film, even when she is on screen...
...and her husband...
...Not Ashton Kutcher; either they couldn't afford him or he had better sense. My guess is the latter...
...will soon move to Houston, for his job. Charlie (Tom Welling, TV's "Smallville") is working in a garage to pay off his student loans. Lorraine (Hilary Duff)...
...Eat some food, Hilary. You don't look healthy and you are a role model to many, many pre-teen girls. Not a good image...
...has just graduated from high school and will soon move to New York for an internship at Allure Magazine...
...The product placement is very subtle. More on that later...
...So Mom and Dad decide the entire Baker clan needs to make one last trip to the old lake house and have one last summer of fun. Upon arrival, Dad learns that Murtaugh (Eugene Levy), his old summer rival, has been buying up every property around the lake. Soon, their old rivalries heat up and the Baker Twelve are soon competing against the Murtaugh Eight for the prize of best summer ever. Bingo. There we go. "Cheaper By The Dozen 2" actually has twenty kids, one dog and Carmen Electra. We have a winner for most excessive and pointless casting.
If Steve Martin only made these types of films, I would be more upset. But because he balances these terrible, overly broad, overly commercial projects with smaller, more interesting, better made films like "Shop Girl", "The Spanish Prisoner" and "L.A. Story", I am willing to give him a little slack. But only just a little. Steve Martin is a funny guy and to watch him in these bad films is just painful. As Tom Baker, he consistently shouts, yells, gestures with his arms, flails about, in short, acts crazy. In the real world, this guy would never be allowed to raise 12 kids. After four or five kids, I would hope Child Protective Services would rush in and get a court order for a mandatory vasectomy. My beef with Martin's involvement is that he could make these films better. Maybe not great, but at least pleasant for the adults to sit through. Instead, he allows the filmmakers to throw in food jokes, children acting crazy, broad comedy and more. Martin is at the point in his career where he can wield some of his power. He should be able to say "You know what, let's try this instead." At the very least, he could insist on another rewrite before committing to the project.
You know a film is going to be bad when Carmen Electra turns out to be the most natural adult in the bunch. With Martin's arms flailing about and face breaking into broad maniacal, cartoonish grins, Levy's posturing and harrumphing and Hunt's apparent boredom with her role, Electra actually makes an attempt at being a real human, a real adult. She plays Levy's third wife and doesn't like the way he interacts with his children. She looks to Hunt's character for guidance. Yeah, it's as boring as it sounds.
I have two problems with Hilary Duff's character. First, she doesn't look healthy, like she has lost a lot of weight. This doesn't present a good image to all of the many 'tween' girls who look up to her. Second, her character's internship at "Allure Magazine" is an excuse to work in a product placement for the magazine. In every scene, anytime someone sees Lorraine (Duff), she is reading a copy of the magazine, to "study and prepare for her internship". Yeah, right. Uh-huh.
The film is very formulaic and seems to follow the same basic outline as the previous film. Yes, they have changed the setting, but there are still animals running about causing havoc, children getting into trouble in fairly dangerous ways and parents who seem to stand back and just laugh it off. If it ain't broke, right? Well, just because "Dozen" made money doesn't mean it wasn't broke. Yet, because it made money, they decided to stick close to the original. The only deviation is the addition of Murtaugh's eight children.
It won't fit. Please read the full review at thornhillatthemovies.com
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