Cheaper By The Dozen 2

"Bad"

Cheaper By The Dozen 2 Review


You've seen this before. Steve Martin as the nervous parent awaiting a baby delivery. Steve Martin reluctantly acknowledging his daughter's independence. Steve Martin falling victim to kids' pranks. From Parenthood to the Father of the Bride remake and sequel to 2003's Cheaper by the Dozen to, uh, last week's Yours, Mine and Ours, the man who began his career as a brilliant, absurdist comic has defined himself as a soft, weepy dad, running through a thousand family-film clichés. Cheaper by the Dozen 2 rehashes it all with no presence of originality or humor.

Martin reprises the role of Tom Baker, father of twelve and husband to wife Kate (the sparkling, grounded Bonnie Hunt). In an effort to bond the family one final time before grandkids are born and chickens fly the coop, Tom cloyingly convinces the clan to vacation at their old lakefront haunt. There, they meet their nemeses: the clean-cut white-teethed Murtaugh family led by perfectionist papa Jimmy, played by the painfully underutilized Eugene Levy.

The Murtaugh kids study hard, attend Yale and excel at sports. The Baker kids excel at poop jokes. Taking a lifelong rivalry between the dads to its inevitable conclusion, the families prepare for an annual Labor Day competition - one the wealthy Murtaughs win with regularity.

Naturally, there's the obvious male chest thumping, but it's got a pretty tight set of reins on it. The fun amounts to competitive campfire sing-alongs, egg toss training, and flat banter about child-rearing techniques. When the simpleton dialogue isn't distracting you - or your kids, by the way - listening to Martin's plaintive whining and pathetic rah-rah talks might. Screenwriter Sam Harper wrote a lovable family film with his first attempt, Rookie of the Year, but his Cheaper by the Dozen efforts lack all ingenuity and vitality.

Of course, there's always the "meat in the pants" gag to keep the kids laughing. But will they laugh if they've already seen the same trick pulled in the first film? How difficult would it have been to conjure up something else? At least the original movie featured a pair of sauce-soaked underwear and a playfully hammy Ashton Kutcher. This one results in two guys falling off a dock.

In fact, whenever there's a conflict that might find the film's funny bone, it ends with people falling. Off docks, balconies, logs, whatever's available. Other slapstick options for a Tom vs. Jimmy log-rolling contest, which you've probably seen on TV, are many. Sadly, the scene's high point involves one character slipping split-legged and crunching the family jewels.

The potential for creative, appealing, family-targeted laughs is there. But director Adam Shankman takes a poorly timed, easy way out for each gag and the movie suffers. Levy's snarky shrewdness is wasted, as is the quick wit of Bonnie Hunt. Too often, cast members are stuffed onscreen for awkwardly short scenes, resulting in a bunch of family problems solved in ridiculous, faster-than-a-bad-sitcom fashion. If you're a teenager wanting to check out Hilary Duff in this one, don't bother. She has about 6 minutes of screen time.

Points are scored for Hunt, sharp and sensitive, and Carmen Electra as Murtaugh's new trophy wife. But what to make of Steve Martin? His recent work has two sides: misfiring family films and more mature material like Shopgirl. Perhaps there's an artistic middle somewhere with a movie like the un-PC Bringing Down the House (a far better Adam Shankman film). Regardless, with more family-friendly movies in Steve Martin's future, upcoming attempts have gotta be better than this. Even the bloopers during the closing credits stink.

Duff studies the script.



Cheaper By The Dozen 2

Facts and Figures

Run time: 94 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 21st December 2005

Box Office USA: $82.5M

Box Office Worldwide: $129.2M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 6%
Fresh: 6 Rotten: 87

IMDB: 5.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Tom Baker, as Jimmy Murtaugh, as Kate Baker, as Charlie Baker, as Bud McNulty, as Mark Baker, as Sarina Murtaugh, as Eliot Murtaugh, as Jake Baker, Kevin G. Schmidt as Henry Baker, as Nigel Baker, Brent and Shane Kinsman as Kyle Baker, as Mike Baker, Alexander Conti as Kenneth Murtaugh, Matthew Knight as Theatre Kid, as Lorraine Baker, as Sarah Baker, as Kim Baker, as Jessica Baker, as Daniel Murtaugh, as Clam Bake Chef, as Nora Baker-McNulty

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Advertisement
Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

Passengers Movie Review

Passengers Movie Review

Anchored by the almost ridiculously engaging Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence, this sci-fi movie travels...

Neruda Movie Review

Neruda Movie Review

Clever Chilean director Pablo Larrain (who also directed Natalie Portman's Jackie) takes on the Nobel-winning...

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

The Eagle Huntress Movie Review

Narrated by Daisy Ridley (The Force Awakens), this documentary is one of the most gripping...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.