This has to be one of the classic family comedies of my childhood. I would honestly be surprised anyone in their 20s who hasn’t seen this classic! Starring Steve Martin as the head of the family, the father of the twelve children, yes you read that right, twelve – hence the dozen… The Baker family, father and mother, Tom and Kate (Bonnie Hunt). Now the children… The only one who has moved out, Nora (Piper Perabo – ‘Coyote Ugly’), then Charlie (Tom Welling – ‘Smallville’) and fashion guru Lorraine (Hilary Duff – aka Lizzie McGuire). Then there’s musical Henry (Kevin G. Schmidt), tomboy Sarah (Alyson Stoner) and skater Jake (Jacob Smith). Lastly, Mark (Forrest Landis), twins Kim (Morgan York) and Jessica (Liliana Mumy), Mike (Blake Woodruff), and identical twins Nigel and Kyle (Brent and Shane Kinsman).
‘Cheaper by the Dozen’ follows the Baker’s family life and the struggles of rebellious children and two parents determined to have a career they love. The children find things are turned upside down when Tom gets the career of his lifetime, head coach of the Stallions. However, this means that the family have to move house away from their beloved Midlands… Things get even crazier when Kate is offered her dream job, but that means leaving Tom to look after the kids for a while. To say the least these children know what to do to create chaos. The mastermind behind all mischievous tricks is Sarah. For example, dunking Nora’s boyfriend’s boxers in meat so their dog Gunner would hunt… Which by the way, because I cannot not mention who Nora’s boyfriend is, Hank, played by the one and only Ashton Kutcher. Meanwhile, the child taking the moving the hardest is the one child who is sometimes forgotten in the mass of the family, his best friend is his frog, Beans, and he struggles to feel part of the madness his family is, this is Mark. This element of the film, brings in emotional and heart-breaking moments.
The comedy is throughout the film as Tom struggles to keep control of his children. Charlie hates that he’s had to move away from his girlfriend and struggles to fit into a new school, as do many of the younger children. A snake is accidentally released in a neighbour’s party. The children rollerblade in the house, one swings from the roof, and a visitor hangs from the chandelier. The house is thrown into a state when Mark tries to catch Beans from escaping. And Nigel and Kyle are always giggling somewhere. The chaos becomes comical as it definitely hits extremes. Tom becomes even more overwhelmed with the whole situation and Kate becomes anxious at leaving her children.
With many children, there is of course many characters, which means there’s a lot that happens. However, this film never becomes confusing, in fact it all ties together brilliantly, and that is why it is the classic family film that it is. If you haven’t seen this film, I would definitely recommend it. It’s fun and creative, comical and heart-warming. The whole film is just a great feel-good easy watch. It definitely brings a nostalgia when I’m watching it.