A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie explores the theme of parents trying to "have it all"-- fulfilling careers while still having the time to be the parents to their twelve kids.
Positive Role Models
Because there are 12 kids, there isn't enough time for any of them to emerge as positive role models. The parents maintain positive attitudes even amidst the most stressful moments of raising 12 children at different stages in their lives; the central conflict of the movie is how the parents, thinking they can "have it all," must choose between devoting all the time necessary to pursue their dream jobs, or scale back their career ambitions so that they have time to spend raising their kids as well as time with each other.
Violence & Scariness
Frequent comedic pratfall violence. Someone always seems to be breaking something in the house. Young kids take the underwear belonging to the unlikable boyfriend of their oldest sister and dip it in meat; when the boyfriend puts the underwear on then sits down to dinner with the family, their dog attacks his groin. A sibling vomits, and another sibling slips in it.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some talk of sex. Talk of how the father got a vasectomy (is shown on the operating table) but they still had another child after the operation. When asked about his 12 children, Tom smirks about his wife: "I couldn't keep her off me." Part of the plot concerns the oldest child (an adult) moving in with her boyfriend (which does not bother her parents) and whether they should be allowed to sleep together when they visit the family.
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Some verbal taunting from bullies. The high school-aged boy is mocked for being the "new kid" from "the country." One of the younger kids is tripped, and the bully says, "Walk much?"
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Products & Purchases
Crate & Barrel featured prominently.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Cheaper by the Dozen is a 2003 movie in which Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt play the parents of 12 children who try to find a way to balance their own career dreams and the responsibilities of raising their large family. The movie includes some schoolyard-style naughty words and PG-style sexual references that get close to a PG-13. When asked about his 12 children, Tom smirks about his wife: "I couldn't keep her off me." He explains that he had a vasectomy but did not wait for it to become effective, resulting in the second set of twins. And part of the plot concerns the oldest child (an adult) moving in with her boyfriend (which does not bother her parents) and whether they should be allowed to sleep together when they visit the family. Some verbal taunting from bullies. Some audience members may be offended by the portrayal of the family as vaguely Catholic, with references to Jesus and a rosary but no evidence of religious observance. There is comic peril with some minor injuries. The product placement (Crate & Barrel) is particularly (and annoyingly) intrusive. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN is not a movie; it's a product, with a script right off the assembly line and direction on automatic pilot. Its intended audience of older tweens and teens will probably enjoy it very much. But those who care about that audience will be disappointed that the people behind this movie don't ealize that they owe those children some imagination and sincerity. The movie takes its title and family size from the classic book about the real-life Gilbreth family but has no other connection to the original and is inferior to it in every aspect.
There are the predictable "aww" moments (death of a pet, reminder that the kids might fight with each other, but they really love each other) and the predictable "ewww" moments (one child barfs and another slips and falls on it). The script is slack and lazy, incapable of a satisfying resolution for even the most reliable family-movie plot devices like a mean bully or snobby, over-protective neighbors.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.