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Running Time:
98 minutes

Rating: PG Parental Guidance Suggested.

Rating Explanation:
for language and some thematic elements

Jimmy's Buzz Guide Review:
There's a nice family-is-everything theme that resonates, making this a harmless, easy to take entertainment, but it's far from great.

Additional Info:
DVD Features: Audio commentary by director Shawn Leavy; actor commentary by the Baker Kids; "Director's Viewfinder: Creating a Fictional Family"; "Inside Look: Garfield"; trailer ; six deleted scenes with director's commentary.

Cheaper By The Dozen
Thomas (Steve Martin) and Kate Baker (Bonnie Hunt) have managed to accumulate a house full of a “dozen” noisy but adorable children. Kate is a writer, attempting to complete a book between changing diapers, cooking meals and carpooling. Thomas is a division three football coach who often brings some of his kids to practice. They have a happy and comfortable but not-so-quiet life in the suburbs, but that only lasts for a few brief scenes until all that changes. Thomas has been offered a job as head coach of a division one team, in far off Chicago. This could be the job of his dreams, so he wants to accept. The family then embarks on several heated family discussions, followed by bedroom debates between Thomas and Kate. Almost all the children are angry about the idea of moving away from their comfortable and familiar surroundings. But off they go. Number 1 son, Charlie (Tom Welling), who was a football star back home, quickly becomes a nobody in Chicago, and soon he loses interest in school altogether. Things get even worse when Kate finishes the book she's been writing about raising twelve kids, and takes off on a promotional book tour, leaving her family behind with only dad to look after the unruly gang. But the conflicts are mostly glossed over by director Shawn Levy (“Just Married”) who has accepted the job of remaking the Clifton Webb/Myrna Loy 1950 comedy, and chosen to mainly focus on the mayhem of twelve crazy kids running amok, leaving any drama buried beneath mostly unbelievable zaniness. As an example; in the scene when Kate is away on the road, Thomas is threatened with losing his coaching position and Charlie runs away from home after a fight with his dad. This could have been a dramatic turning point, but it's remedied hastily so that the movie can just keep happily zipping along. Martin and Hunt make convincing parents, but that is more than can be said for the kids, which includes besides Tom Welling ("Smallville"), has Hilary Duff ("Lizzie McGuire") and Piper Perabo ("Coyote Ugly") as Nora, the oldest daughter. Their casting seems to have much more to do with using recognizable faces than it does with creating a family that looks like they really live together. Oh, and if you look closely, you'll even spot an uncredited Ashton Kutcher ("That 70's Show") as Nora's boyfriend.

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