Movie Review

Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)

MPAA Rating: PG
Steve Martin, Cheaper by the Dozen (Movie - 2003) | COOL DADDY Martin keeps ''Cheaper'' sprightly
COOL DADDY Martin keeps ''Cheaper'' sprightly

Okay for kids?

EW says…

Min. Age 7-9 Yrs Old

The big message: Families (big and small) have their issues, for sure, but when everyone cooperates and pulls together, it can all work out. There's some mild cursing and sexual references. A.W.

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Cheaper by the Dozen

The big message: Families (big and small) have their issues, for sure, but when everyone cooperates and pulls together, it can all work out. There's some mild cursing and sexual references.

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PG

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EW's GRADE
B

Details Release Date: Dec 25, 2003; Rated: PG; Length: 98 Minutes; Genres: Comedy, Kids and Family; With: Bonnie Hunt and Steve Martin; Distributor: 20th Century Fox Film Corporation

In the innocuously chipper family comedy Cheaper by the Dozen, Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt represent a new paradigm of two-career sitcom parenthood in a feature-length format: They're sparky gender equals, simultaneously raising their brood of 12 and ogling one another's adult butts to suggest that the two still have a swell sex life and a sense of humor. I wish Martin's Tom and Hunt's Kate would make full use of the comic stars' sardonic specialities. But that ain't scheduled in this sprightly, updated remake of a 1950 movie from a 1948 memoir of growing up in a turn-of-the-century household.

Back then, Papa was an efficiency expert -- how square. Now, Dad's a college football coach, Mom's on a publicity tour for her book (about raising the dozen), and the kids act out with genial rebellion to suit every target audience group and child-development phase. The 12-pack includes ''Coyote Ugly'''s Piper Perabo as adult daughter Nora, ''Smallville'''s Tom Welling as the eldest son, and ''Lizzie McGuire'''s Hilary Duff as a teenager who's, like, sooo ready to star in ''Lizzie McGuire.''

The baker's-dozen bonus, meanwhile, is a coyly uncredited Ashton Kutcher, having a dandy, funny, self-mocking time as Nora's vain, aspiring-actor boyfriend. Director Shawn Levy and much of the ''Cheaper'' team come from the star's 2003 movie ''Just Married''; clearly Kutcher's at home with these dudes, free to pull a ''Punk'd'' -- on himself.

Originally posted Dec 19, 2003 Published in issue #745 Jan 09, 2004 Order article reprints