Cheaper by the Dozen
Entertainment: +2 1/2
Acceptability: +1

Cheerful chaos reigns in a big, rambling country house filled with kids from five to 18 in this comedy. Tom Baker (Steve Martin) coaches college football in a small town, and his wife Kate (Bonnie Hunt) happily juggles her duties as wife, mother, chauffeur and cook, while under deadline to write her first book. Despite the childrens rebelling, Tom accepts a coaching job at his alma mater near Chicago where nothing goes right at home, school or on the new job. To make matters worse, Kate has to leave for New York to promote her book. One hilarious nightmare after another follows as Tom tries to manage the unmanageable. The children almost steal the show, especially young Mark (Forrest Landis) and his pet frog, Pork. Teens will be drawn to Cheaper by the Dozen because teen idols Hilary Duff and Tom Welling are part of the dozen. This film bears little resemblance to the book or the 1950 movie version, but it should generate respectable box-office numbers this holiday season.

The Bakers are genuinely loving and supportive, but Tom and Kate have to turn on the washing machine and dryer to keep the kids from eavesdropping on their conversations. Their 22-year-old daughter Nora (Piper Perabo) lives with her boyfriend but, when visiting the family, the two have to sleep in separate rooms. The younger children dislike the boyfriend, so they immerse his underwear in a tub of ground meat. When he puts them on, the dog attacks his crotch. The children disobey their parents with stunts like releasing a live snake, which creates havoc. The lack of discipline becomes the subject of newspaper articles, putting Toms job in jeopardy, and receives little repercussion other than a few harsh words. Using mean-spirited pranks for laughs will not set well with some parents, which is why Cheaper by the Dozen gets a low acceptability rating, even though there is minimal foul language and no sex.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: 20th Century Fox

Crude Language: Few (4) times mild
Obscene Language: None
Profanity: None
Violence: Many times mild (jumping frog splatters food, dog grabs mans crotch, captive snake released at party); moderate (fighting, chandelier crashes and hits man, boy and man fall from chandelier, house trashed by childrens antics, boys leg broken while roughhousing)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times (married couple kiss passionately, unmarried couple shown asleep in same bed)
Drug Abuse: None
Other: Strong family values, parents forbid daughter and boyfriend to share room, children sneak out and deliberately ruin neighbors party, children boycott parents plans to move, children soak mans underwear in raw meat to attract dog
Running Time: 94 minutes
Intended Audience: Ages 5 and older

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