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A family oriented fare, Cheaper By The Dozen is a very funy movie with endearing characters, and hillarious situations that anyone who has kids will relate to instantly. The movie captures very well the essense of family, and the hardships, and wonders, of raising kids.
Tom Baker (Steve Martin) and his wife Kate (Bonnie Hunt) are serial progenitors. As Tom puts it in the movie, he couldn't keep her away from him for all those years. The result? 12 kids, and a gigantic, chaotic family. They live in a country town and their older daughter has moved with her boyfriend (Asthon Kutcher) to Chicago. Tom is a local football coach and has always put his family first. However, one day, one of his childhood friends, who is now a big shot at a top university in Chicago, wants Tom to become the head coach for the team there. This is the dream job for Tom. Kate and him decide that the opportunity is simply too great to pass up and pack up the entire family and move to the city. The children are of course less than happy to move and leave behind their friends, and the house they all grew up in. In parallel, Kate had been working on a book telling her story and the challenges of raising a family of 12. Her book suddenly takes off, is picked by a top publisher, and she is asked to go on a national book tour. That leave Tom alone to manage his 11 kids at home, while at the same time, he takes on his new job. Needless to say that things go worse before they get better, as the family slowly dissolves under the pressure.
This film is so funny, and has many scenes that got me and my family all laughing hard. It's touching, emotional, fun, and a bit of something that all parents has experienced at one time or another. I personally like this type of humor which mixes family-based, and in particular kids-based, chaos, tragedy and comedy in an explosive mix. Some material here reminded me of some of the most outrageous material from Bill Cosby.
From a performance point of view, it's all perfect. Steve Martin is as good as ever as the goofy guy. He is an actor that i find hard to resist since i saw his masterpiece L.A. Story, and i cannot remember a role he played that i did not like him. Bonnie Hunt is the queen of cool and organized good sense, and the kids are a riot as an ensemble cast although none really rises to the top. The material is fantastic, and is delivered with precision all throughout.
This is a great comedy that deserved the $140M it surprisingly made at the US box office, and the $190M is made worldwide. I highly recommend it for a good afternoon with the entire family. This is one of the best film in its genre to come out recently. The only one that came close, was last year's Freaky Friday.
- Laurent Hasson