February 11, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 73  

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Buy cheap smiles by the Dozen

Cheaper By The Dozen
Starring: Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Ashton Kutcher, Piper Perabo
Directed by: Shawn Levy

By Gabriella Barillari
Gazette Staff

Bigger is better and in some cases can definitely be more entertaining!

After abruptly leaving small town Midland, Illinois for Chicago to start his dream job, complications arise for Tom Baker (Martin) and his family. Having 12 kids is obviously a handful, and when Tom’s wife (Hunt) leaves to travel the country and promote her first novel, Cheaper by the Dozen, he’s left to watch the unusually large household and coach the university football team. So the real question is, can Baker coach two teams?

Every child in the Baker family has a distinct personality, adding colour and character to the film. Kutcher plays his usual role of the oblivious and annoying moron boyfriend, this time to Nora (Perabo from Coyote Ugly).

The ever-studly Tom Welling (Smallville) is a high school senior, forced to make new friends, make the football team and keep in touch with his long distance girlfriend.

Hilary Duff is the blonde bimbo daughter who complains about hand-me-downs and more bathroom time — quite suitable for her. Missy Elliot’s break-dancing diva, Alyson Stoner, plays the lacrosse-obsessed tomboy who thinks of ways to make Kutcher’s life a living hell. It’s quite amusing to see him get his butt kicked over and over again.

The cast work well together and there is a definite family bond reflected onscreen. The natural energy of the crazy kids can be felt as they skateboard around the wooden floors or play a daring game of hallway hockey on roller blades — how you wish your parents allowed you to do that!

The camera work is all over the place and sometimes can make the audience dizzy. But don’t worry, it’s nothing compared to the vomit-inducing Blair Witch disaster.

And speaking of vomit, there are a handful of hilarious gross scenes including scrambled eggs, minced meat and jock straps — something you need to see for yourself.

With kids running around inside, outside and on top of the house, there is no way this movie is a bore. Even after all the madness, the Bakers are still a loving family with loyalty and priorities.

It may seem to be a film for married couples or children to watch, but don’t be fooled. You will be surprised by how much Cheaper by the Dozen will keep you smiling.



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