• Jennifer Green

Review: "Cheaper by the Dozen"


This movie's heart is in the right place, but the latest version of this familiar concept is a bit of a clunker.


Right from the start, something feels off in Cheaper by the Dozen. The film bounces from family scene to family scene, not getting to any serious story or conflict until at least a third of the way in. Are the kids cute? Of course, and some of their antics are heartwarming and/or funny.


A few sequences hit their mark, like when dad Paul tries to dress cool in his kids' clothes for a business meeting (and he walks right out of his son's too-big sneakers), but many of the attempts at comedy will entertain only the very youngest of viewers.


This makes the repetition of serious and justified themes of racism incoherent, as they're not tailored to such a young audience. There are also a few places where actions don't seem to match the values that this film aims to convey, like parents regularly giving kids very expensive gifts.


Braff and Union are both solid actors, but they don't have any real chemistry together and feel miscast (especially Braff). The kids are unrealistically compliant, and the extravagant new life the family builds overnight using business seed money is dubious. The secondary cast is fine, with a few of the child actors standing out.


The dozen have been done better before.

 

Read the full review at Common Sense Media.