Cheaper by the Dozen Shawn Levy

Cheaper by the Dozen Shawn Levy
Steve Martin (Parenthood) takes another stab at the touching family comedy genre with this remake of the 1950 Walter Lang film Cheaper By The Dozen. After getting the job offer of a lifetime, Tom Baker (Martin) and his wife (Bonnie Hunt) are forced to relocate with their 12 children. Despite groans of protest from their cheeky yet loveable kids, the Bakers move from their pastoral country house into a snobby upper-middleclass Chicago neighbourhood. When his wife unexpectedly embarks on a career of her own, Tom is left to juggle both his numerous children and a demanding new job, with, hopefully, comical results. Director Shawn Levy (Big Fat Liar) has assembled a likeable ensemble cast, which includes rising, yet questionably-talented, young stars Ashton Kutcher, Hillary Duff and Tom Welling. And for the most part, Levy is able to articulate his characters with remarkable clarity. Each of the 12 children, plus the various supporting players, seem distinct and important to the overall flow of the story. And if the goal was to celebrate the warmth and tenderness of the traditional family bond, the film succeeds outright. Unfortunately, the comedy portion of the equation fails miserably. This comedy simply is not funny. Whether it's a pet frog jumping into a big bowl of scrambled eggs, or Steve Martin dangling from a chandelier, the film's gags fall flat. The banter between Martin and his co-star Hunt (Jerry Maguire) exudes banal fondness rather than hilarity. The director even manages to bury Kutcher's one moment to shine (when the family dog bites him in the ass), smothering his physical comedy in a series of needlessly quick, safe editing cuts. The DVD includes a very good director's commentary. Levy is an energetic and articulate speaker, who seems to know exactly what his film is about and how it functions within the genre. His efforts to pinpoint various moments of comedy within the film however, are unconvincing. Others extras include some irrelevant deleted scenes, an on-set featurette, and a second commentary featuring the kids. (Fox)