|Cheaper by the Dozen 2|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Adam Shankman|
|Written by||Sam Harper|
by Craig Titley
Cheaper by the Dozen
Belles on Their Toes
by Ernestine Gilbreth Carey and Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr.
|Music by||John Debney|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Box office||$135 million|
Cheaper by the Dozen 2 is a 2005 American family comedy film directed by Adam Shankman. It is the sequel to the 2003 film Cheaper by the Dozen. Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff, Piper Perabo, Alyson Stoner, and Tom Welling reprise their roles as members of the twelve-child Baker family. Eugene Levy co-stars as the patriarch of a rival family of eight children. Carmen Electra portrays his wife.
Two years after Tom Baker resigned from his head coaching position, his family begins to undergo many changes, beginning with his daughter Lorraine's desire to study in New York City after her high school graduation. The family's oldest daughter, Nora, is now married to Bud McNulty and pregnant with their first child; they intend to move to Houston because of Bud's new job.
Feeling the family is breaking apart as the children grow up and move away, Tom persuades them to take one last family vacation all together at Lake Winnetka, a fictional lake in Wisconsin. The family finds that their old cabin is currently owned by a man named Mike Romanow. Tom's old rival, Jimmy Murtaugh, his new wife Sarina, and their large family (with "only" eight kids) are also vacationing at the lake for the summer; Jimmy is also friends and neighbors with Mike Romanow. Jimmy constantly flaunts his wealth and success to Tom, as well as the accomplishments of his children, often suggesting to Tom that his are less successful because of his parenting style. They get into many incidents, several of which are accidental: Mark Baker, along with Kenny Murtaugh, crashes into a tennis court with a golf cart, Sarah Baker is caught shoplifting in a gift shop, and Mark accidentally sets off a backpack of fireworks, causing widespread panic, especially when it is thrown into a boat, igniting its engine and causing it to explode.
Jimmy again brings up the topic that Tom needs to be more strict with his kids. Tom is angered by this, and he and Jimmy decide to settle the matter at the Annual Labor Day Family Cup. Tom trains the kids for days, not realizing they are miserable. Sarah and Elliot Murtaugh watch Ice Age together, but are spied on by their fathers, which ultimately results in them getting into an argument and humiliating their children. Upon returning to the Bakers' cabin, Sarah is furious and refuses to compete for Tom in the Cup. The children are angry with him, not only for spying on Sarah, but also for ruining the entire trip because of his competitiveness with the Murtaughs, and Tom's wife Kate laments that the two pulling with their parenting has only torn the entire family further apart.
The next morning, Tom goes to the Cup to compete with Nigel and Kyle, the only two still willing to go. However, after discovering an old "Team Baker" flag, Kate and the rest of the kids show up, showing they forgive him and are willing to compete. After the events, however, the Bakers and the Murtaughs are tied for first; a tiebreaking canoe race is announced, in which every family member must compete. During the canoe race, Nora goes into labor; the Murtaughs want to help, but Jimmy, sensing the opportunity to defeat Tom once and for all, refuses to do so. The Murtaugh children jump out of the canoe to help the Bakers. While arguing with Sarina, Jimmy reveals he was jealous of Tom being the popular one when they were younger. Eventually, Sarina convinces him to help and the two families work together to get Nora to the hospital. Bud, Lorraine, and Kate go with Nora in the delivery room, while Tom, Jimmy, Sarina, and the rest of the kids stay in the waiting room. While talking with Jimmy, Tom realizes that he has to let his kids grow, but wherever they go, they will always be with him, and he will always be with them. Nora then gives birth to a baby boy whom she and Bud name Tom in honor of his grandfather, who has shown them that "there is no way to be a perfect parent, but a million ways to be a really good one." Bud announces that he and Nora have bought "The Big House", the vacation home that the Bakers had been renting. Nora, Bud, and baby Tom leave for Houston a few days later.
Review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes ranked Cheaper by the Dozen 2 98th in the 100 worst reviewed films of the 2000s. It has a rating of 6% based on 93 reviews of the film. The site's consensus reads: "A sequel to a remake, Cheaper 2 wastes its solid cast in scenes of over-the-top, predictable humor". On Metacritic, it has a score of 34 out of 100 based on 24 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".
Chicago Sun-Times critic Roger Ebert, gave the film one of its rare positive reviews, awarding it 3/4 stars and stating "As I watched this sequel, a certain good feeling began to make itself known. Yes, the movie is unnecessary. However, it is unnecessary at a higher level of warmth and humor than the recent remake Yours, Mine, and Ours." Ebert also highly praised Alyson Stoner's performance, favorably comparing the then-twelve year old actress to Reese Witherspoon.
Calling the overall film "bland", Variety's Justin Chang agreed with Ebert on Stoner, calling her "an endearingly vulnerable standout" and deeming her subplot to be "the most engaging" in it. Chang was also kind to Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt and Eugene Levy, deeming the veteran actors did the best with what was given to them. Marrit Ingman of the Austin Chronicle conceded that it had a good message, and agreed that Hunt was "marvelous and down-to-earth" but ultimately felt that "the rest of the movie is as funny as mildew", found that "the product placement is particularly egregious" and thought that Hilary Duff looked "as tanned and raw as buffalo jerky". Andrea Gronvall was also horrified by Duff's appearance while writing for the Chicago Reader, calling her "haggard" and "flat-out scary", and overall felt that there was "a discernible lack of enthusiasm from almost everyone involved", however singling out Carmen Electra for being "the most winning performer of the bunch".
The film grossed $9,309,387 on its opening weekend, finishing in 4th place at the box office. By the end of its run, Cheaper by the Dozen 2 grossed $82,571,173 domestically and $46,610,657 internationally, totaling $129,181,830 worldwide. It is one of only twelve feature films to be released in over 3,000 theaters and still improve on its box office performance in its second weekend, increasing 55.6% from $9,309,387 to $14,486,519.
The DVD was released on May 23, 2006. The Blu-ray was released on January 5, 2010. The DVD is two-sided and side B features previews of Flicka and Aquamarine. Other DVD extras include an audio commentary with director Adam Shankman, behind-the-scenes featurettes, and theatrical trailers.