This newest model of “Cheaper by the Dozen” claims within the opening credit to be based mostly on the basic 1948 e-book by two (equal to one-sixth) of the kids of pioneering “movement research” (effectivity) engineers Frank and Lillian Gilbreth. The appeal of the e-book and the 1950 movie and its sequel have been based mostly partly on the best way the Gilbreths used their theories of effectivity to boost their 12 kids within the early 20th century. The e-book additionally had my all-time favorite dedication, which I’ll quote at the finish of this overview.
As Roger Ebert, additionally, a fan of the e-book, identified, the 2003 movie by that identify and its 2005 sequel jettisoned the whole lot however the variety of kids, with a modern-day story a few faculty soccer coach performed by Steve Martin. These movies have been sitcom-ish however mildly amusing. Like a photocopy of a photocopy, this third try at creating household leisure from the chaos of a wildly outnumbered mom and pa bears solely the faintest connection not simply to the real-life household but to any household, or certainly any people and even any sitcom variations of people.
“Cheaper by the Dozen” is worse than formulaic; it’s lazy and condescending to its viewers. Its storyline combines the sugary sentiments of a Hallmark Christmas film (persons are happier in shabby homes than massive fancy homes, regardless that they arrive with bedrooms for everybody, a working garments dryer, and an elevator for a member of the family in a wheelchair) and the humor degree of a primary cable present from the ’90s. A lot of the supposed humor comes from fake precocious feedback by kids.
There are solely 9 kids on this blended household, launched to us in a brisk ten-minute opening sequence with Paul (Zach Braff) bringing us updated. Paul is a chef who had three kids along with his first spouse, Kate (Erika Christensen). Certainly, one of their kids is adopted, the son of shut buddies who have been killed in an accident. Zoey (Gabrielle Union, who co-produced as effectively) had two kids along with her first husband, an NFL star named Dom (Ron Funches). After their first marriages broke up, Paul and Zoey obtained married and had two units of twins. They run an all-breakfast restaurant collectively and cash is tight.
Each ex is a supply of help and pressure. Kate is their backup babysitter and “the littles” (the 2 units of twins) love her, partly as a result of her on the spacey aspect. They inform her they’re going to play drag race, and she or he smiles, “I like RuPaul!” and nods off. Dom loves his youngsters and is beneficiant with their siblings, however, he has been away more often than not and when he’s there Paul feels threatened. “Not less than Kate isn’t richer and ten toes taller!” There’s an entire factor about Dom having a lot bigger toes than Paul, and the 2 dads have a foolish dance-off at a college basketball recreation.
Later there maybe is a tenth youngster, Paul’s nephew, a sulky teenager who has had a tough time. They take him in when his mom is in drug rehab.
Paul has an opportunity to make some cash with retail gross sales of his scrumptious sauce. Zoey is worried. She noticed what success and fame did to Dom and their household. However, Paul is decided to make sufficient cash to purchase the household the whole lot he desires to offer them, together with a mansion in a gated neighborhood and personal college. In some way, regardless that they now have loads of cash and Dom gave every one of the kids very costly sneakers, one in all of them continues to be carrying shabby, low-price kicks in order that we will have a storyline about his getting bullied on the fancy new college. And someway, although this can be a story a few massive households, and it was co-written by Kenya Barris who created the good and hilarious “Black-ish,” with heightened however plausible and endearing youngster characters, this film spends extra time with Paul. He’s performed by Braff, who was heightened however plausible in “Scrubs” and touching in “Backyard State,” however he can not make this character notably interesting.
The film awkwardly mixes corny humor, artificial sentiment, and pointed, if superficial, depictions of overt and refined racism. Responding to racist micro-aggressions is sadly most of what Union is given to do, although she is, at all times, swish and lovely, right here in a sequence of fantastic hairdos. One indicator of laziness is simply too many needle-drop songs on the soundtrack. Sure, Paul left Zoey dwelling alone with the youngsters; we don’t want Al Inexperienced singing “I’m So Uninterested in Being Alone” to grasp that. One other laziness indicator: too many slo-mo entrances. Jokes a few teen boys on the lookout for attractive women on the web and one making a crude remark about a few women in a brief skirt (who seems to be his sister) are additionally simply icky. And the household has a daughter in a wheelchair, however no ramps?
Maybe it is inevitable with so many characters, however, the moments which can be alleged to be significant or heartwarming barely make an impression. My first selection could be a film based mostly on the true life of the household that impressed the e-book Cheaper by the Dozen, however, I might accept one which has even a somewhat little bit of the unique’s wit and coronary heart.
(The e-book’s dedication is: “To Dad who solely reared twelve kids. To Mom who reared twelve solely kids.”)