Cheaper by the Dozen

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Cheaper by the Dozen
The movie that will make you afraid of having kids.
Genre: Comedy
Directed By: Shawn Levy
Produced By: Robert Simonds
Michael Barnathan
Ben Myron
Written By: Craig Titley
Based On: Cheaper By The Dozen
Photography: Color
Release Date: December 25, 2003
Country: United States
Budget: $40 million
Box Office: $190.2 million
Franchise: Cheaper By The Dozen
Sequel: Cheaper By The Dozen 2

Cheaper by the Dozen is a 2003 American family comedy film directed by Shawn Levy, and stars Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. The film was released on December 25, 2003 by 20th Century Fox to mixed to negative reviews, but was a box-office success, ultimately grossing just over $190 million worldwide.


Tom and Kate Baker have compromised their careers to raise 12 children. Tom coaches a high-school football team, while Kate has retired from journalism to raise the family. Things change when Tom is offered a college coaching job in a new city at the same time a publisher buys Kate's parenting memoir. After moving, Kate goes on a book tour, leaving Tom in charge of the children, who is already unhappy about relocating, plunges the household into chaos.

Bad Qualities

  1. This film is practically not only an insulting remake of the 1950 film, but also the 1948 autobiographical book of the same name.
  2. A lot of the jokes are a misfire, some of which are incredibly inappropriate for a family film, such as interrupting a friend’s birthday party by putting a snake in the party, injuring and insulting a friend on his birthday party, making fun of a teacher, a chandelier breaking several times, Henry slipping in vomit, Sarah starting a fight when Mark Baker’s pet frog Beans dies, soaking Nora’s boyfriend’s underwear in meat, Charlie trying to be mean to everybody, and the kids try to be mean to their parents and their dad’s football players and Nora’s boyfriend.
  3. Bad Morals: This movie's message is that when the going gets tough, you just give up your dreams; shouldn't it be the other way around?
  4. Contributing on BQ#1, the film even has the nerve to actually rename the characters for no reason at all, like as if it's the equivalent to wrongly answering any question on an exam.
  5. There are some quite mean-spirited, infuriating, and harsh moments in a family film.
    • Tom unfortunately chooses to quit his dream job to spend time with his family, which is awful because while it's fine to spend with your family, he should've at least spend time with them in the weekends instead.
    • Kate cancels her successful book tour because, get this, her kids were fighting and they forced her to come back.
    • The majority of the film was pretty much about Mark Baker getting constantly neglected and verbally-abused by his family only for being different, which might make you believe that the moral is to never be different, which is pretty harsh and also disrespectful towards people law were also different when they grew up.
  6. The film somewhat feels like it's trying too hard to be like like Parenthood all over again, which was a much better film that also dealt with family issues and also starred Steve Martin, whose acting was highly acclaimed alongside the film.
  7. The plots tone has a some inconsistencies. For example, there’s one scene that’s supposed to show Tom losing control and the kids lives getting worse while Kate is gone. But once or twice in the montage it shows things going great, the kids having fun, and Tom appears to even have control.
  8. At one point, Lorainne says to Tom: “Your son slipped in vomit!”, she should be more specific which son she’s talking about.
  9. As typical for a family, there is a blatant amount of product placement all around.
  10. Probably the biggest problem is that the Baker kids (the ones younger than Loraine and Charlie) are complete brats. They don’t even try to make the move work, they literally take the road trip kicking and screaming. It’s understandable that moving in general can be very stressful for kids, but this rides in that way too much. Maybe if they showed more of the new struggles the kids go through after moving (which to be fair they do for some) it can be more understandable.

Good Qualities

  1. Good acting from Steve Martin.
  2. At least the family tries to fix things up, like when Mark runs away and Tom finds him on the train.
  3. The kid actors are actually really good, which is a really uncommon thing in these kinds of films.
    • To be fair, even if the kids are bratty, you gotta admit that they did a pretty decent job at being bratty.
  4. Wayne Knight's cameo as the cameraman in one scene is pretty funny.
  5. The soundtrack is fine, thanks to Christophe Beck, a recurring composer for Shawn Levy.
  6. Nora (If one can look past her prioritizing her douchey boyfriend over her family), Lorraine, Mark and Charlie are all likable characters.


While the 1950 film and the 1948 autobiographical book was met with positive reception, this film received mixed to negative reviews from critics, audiences and movie goers alike.

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a critic score of a certified "rotten" rating with 24% (4.60 out of 10) and a critic consensus stating "In this family of twelve children, much chaos ensues, but little hilarity." On Metacritic, the film has a score of 46 out of 100, indicating "mixed or average reviews".


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