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Cheaper by the Dozen is a 2003 American family comedy film directed by Shawn Levy, and stars Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. It is a remake of the 1950 film of the same name. The film was released on December 25, 2003, by 20th Century Fox and grossed $190.2 million worldwide against a $40 million budget. The Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus criticizes its lack of humor. 

A sequel, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, was released in the United States on December 21, 2005.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Tom Baker is a football coach at a small college in Midland City, Illinois, where he is raising twelve children. His wife, Kate, has written a memoir about her experiences raising the family and she hopes to send it to her publisher friend. One day, Tom unexpectedly receives an offer from his old friend and football teammate Shake McGuire to coach at his alma mater in his hometown of Evanston, Illinois. Tom accepts the offer, and demands all the children vote on moving. Despite losing the vote, Tom has the entire family return to Evanston for a better home and space. The atmosphere at the Bakers' new house is incredibly tense, and the situation at school is even worse. Several mishaps occur involving a chandelier four times throughout the film.

When her book is ready to be published, Kate is required to do a national book tour to promote it. Tom thinks that he can handle everything in the family's household while Kate is away, so he decides to hire the family's oldest child, Nora, and her self-absorbed actor/model boyfriend, Hank, to manage the children. When Nora and Hank arrive, the children plan to make Hank the target of their prank by soaking his underwear in meat and assisting the Bakers' pet dog, Gunner, to attack him by biting his buttocks, prompting him to refuse to assist in babysitting. As a result, Nora drives off with Hank, while Tom lectures them for their prank. After Kate departs for her book tour, Tom realizes that he cannot handle the children on his own after a chaotic night. In reply to this revelation, Tom tries to hire a housekeeper, but nobody is willing to work with a family as large as the Bakers, so Tom decides to bring the football players from work into the family's house so he can help them practice for their next game. However, the children start causing trouble at school and Charlie, the Bakers' oldest son, is removed from the football team. Kate overhears from the children about the chaos and cancels the book tour to take charge of the situation. Kate's publisher decides to create an additional promotion for her book by inviting Oprah Winfrey to tape a segment about the Bakers in their home instead.

Despite much coaching from Kate, the Bakers are unable to demonstrate the loving, strongly bonded family that Kate described in her book. When Mark becomes upset that his pet frog has died, a heated fight erupts moments before the segment starts, leading the cameramen to call Winfrey to cancel it. Mark runs away from home, prompting the Bakers to find him. Tom indulges a hunch that Mark is trying to run back to the Bakers' old home, and eventually finds Mark on an Amtrak train departing from Chicago to Midland. Reuniting with the rest of their family, the Bakers begin to address their issues with each other, and Tom ultimately resigns from his coaching position.

The film ends with the family enjoying Christmas dinner, and the camera pans over to the tree in the lobby, where the chandelier falls off and smashes once again.

Cast[edit | edit source]

Bakers[edit | edit source]

Others[edit | edit source]

  • Paula Marshall as Tina Shenk
  • Alan Ruck as Bill Shenk
  • Steven Anthony Lawrence as Dylan Shenk, Tina & Bill’s son
  • Richard Jenkins as Shake McGuire
  • Ashton Kutcher as Hank (uncredited)
  • Tiffany Dupont as Beth
  • Cody Linley as Quinn
  • Jared Padalecki as an unnamed bully (uncredited cameo)
  • Joel McCrary as Gil
  • Dax Shepard as Camera Crew Member
  • Regis Philbin as himself
  • Kelly Ripa as herself
  • Frank Welker as the voice of Gunner, the Bakers’ pet dog (uncredited)
  • Wayne Knight as Electrician (uncredited cameo)
  • Amy Hill as Miss Hozzie, Kyle and Nigel's Teacher (uncredited)

The film's director Shawn Levy makes a cameo as a reporter.

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