Steve Martin ("Bringing Down the House") and Bonnie Hunt (TV's "Life with Bonnie") are Tom and Kate Baker, college sweethearts with big dreams--most of which are sidetracked by children. The film never really explains what the deal is with the 12 kids; even the most maternal of souls could hardly be interested in having a brood of that size. At any rate, Tom ends up coaching division three football in the hicks, while Kate becomes mostly mom and a part-time writer. By chance, they both get the opportunity to change their lives and fortunes. Her book is going to be published but it means weeks on a book tour; he's given the job of his dreams coaching division one football at his alma mater but it means moving the family. The kids whine and bitch and ruin everything. The moral of the story: You can't have it all, so choose family. Whatever. Frankly, "Cheaper by the Dozen" is less a family comedy than a film-length pitch for birth control. And, for the record, neither Hunt nor Martin actually has any children. Starring Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Tom Welling and Piper Perabo. Directed by Shawn Levy. Written by Sam Harper and Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow. Produced by Robert Simonds, Michael Barnathan and Ben Myron. A Fox release. Comedy/Family. Rated PG for language and some thematic elements. Running time: 98 min
Cheaper By The Dozen
"Cheaper by the Dozen" plows head-on into the perilous territory of family melodrama--super-sized. It's a movie with traditional tones and themes and mores. The kids--even the ones with issues--are all Central Casting's idea of traditional kids: a mix of tall and short and fat and sassy and cute.