Cheaper by the Dozen 2

Cheaper by the Dozen 2


Reviewed by: Scott Macdonald

Steve Martin was once one of the funniest screen-muggers of all time, making me damn near scream with laughter in his Man With Two Brains. Eugene Levy wasn't half bad either, usually with an exquisite grasp of comic timing. I will now view their future onscreen antics with a healthy dose of scepticism - given their recent comic misfires, they're torching up their previous goodwill quicker than Tony Blair on backpedal. If taking the money from studio rubbish like Cheaper by the Dozen 2 is what it takes for Steve Martin to write and star in films like Shopgirl, I'll learn to live with it. Levy, after The Man, the DTV American Pie third sequel and this, is on thin ice.

Martin and Levy play strongly competitive dads to their ample 20-plus member families, the Bakers and the Murtaughs. Cheaper By The Dozen 2 is the sequel to a family comedy (itself a remake) with many cute, anonymous kids and seriously hot over-age family members. As for the movie itself, the plot has something to do with a family outing to Lake Winnetka, where the families meet and unfunnily compete at everything possible.

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Bonnie Hunt - always a treasure - as Mom Baker, gets to look sexy in a "Hot Ma" jumper showing off her terrific bosom, quick-firing probably adlibbed PG-rated zingers in her precious little screentime. Carmen Elektra, as her counterpart in the Murtaugh household gets more laughs than Steve Martin, simply by being Carmen Elektra.

The young Alyson Stoner walks away with the movie, with her rather wonderful sub-plot about her crush on a Murtaugh boy and discovering the delight of just a whisper of makeup. The rest of the film feels heartless, as though on autopilot, with the outcome of the families' rivalries as expected after a third of the way in.

Adam Shankman directs in a turn that rivals Paul W.S. Anderson's (Resident Evil, Mortal Kombat) for stunning simplicity and sheer crapola. He has previously directed Martin in Bringing Down The House and Vin Diesel in this year's disaster The Pacifier. He hits three for three in this, frankly, unneccessary and hideous blend of slapstick and cloying sentimentality.

This is a tiresome piece of half-baked entertainment without a single real laugh in its body. The only element missing from this franchise is canned laughter, as it as dull as it is inoffensive.

Reviewed on: 29 Dec 2005
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Steve Martin's slide into cash-grabbing continues..
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Director: Adam Shankman

Writer: Sam Harper, Craig Titley, Frank B. Gilbreth Jr., Ernestine Gilbreth Carey

Starring: Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Piper Perabo, Tom Welling, Hilary Duff, Kevin Schmidt, Alyson Stoner

Year: 2005

Runtime: 94 minutes

BBFC: PG - Parental Guidance

Country: USA


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