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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

Cheaper by the Dozen (review)

The 1950 film of which this is just barely a remake depicted a family of 14 struggling to get by at the turn of the 20th century. At the turn of the 21st, one couple spawning a dozen kids by choice smacks of self-indulgence… the very sin this flimsy and obvious domestic comedy purports to condemn. Not only are 12 rowdy youngsters fighting for the bathroom and a snippet of Mom and Dad’s attention here, but two different movies are fighting for our attention: In one, the whole family contends with culture shock after a move from a small town to the big city — cliché alert: rural people are uniformly friendly; urban people are uniformly not — and in another, Dad is forced to care for his offspring singlehandledly when Mom suddenly decides to follow her career bliss for the first time — cliché alert: fathers are hopeless caregivers. You can’t help but worship goddess Bonnie Hunt as Mom, even if she deserves so much better, and you can’t help but want to smack Steve Martin (Looney Tunes: Back in Action), as Dad, because you suspect this sorry, unfunny movie wouldn’t exist if he hadn’t said yes.

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MPAA: rated PG for language and some thematic elements

viewed at a semipublic screening with an audience of critics and ordinary moviegoers

official site | IMDb
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