Today’s Prayer Focus

Cheaper by the Dozen 2

MPA Rating: PG-Rating (MPA) for some crude humor and mild language.

Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno

Moral Rating: Average
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Family
Genre: Adventure Comedy Kids Family Sequel
Year of Release: 2005
USA Release: December 21, 2005 (wide)
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Featuring Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff, Tom Welling, Piper Perabo, Eugene Levy, Carmen Elektra
Director Adam Shankman
Producer Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot, Garrett Grant
Distributor Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Trademark logo.20th Century Studios, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Studios, a division of The Walt Disney Company

“Cheaper by the Dozen 2” opens with the entire Baker clan at Lorraine Baker’s (Hilary Duff) graduation. The whole family is there, but later at Lorraine’s party, everyone has to leave early, and it seems as if the family is starting to grow up and away. Oldest daughter Nora is married and pregnant. Her husband has received a job promotion, and they are moving to Houston. Lorraine is going to be moving to New York. Tom Baker (played by Steve Martin) seems especially sad, and while reminiscing with wife, Kate (Bonnie Hunt), he comes up with an idea to spend one last summer vacation together at Lake Winnetka.

After returning to the cabin where the family has spent summers in the past, Tom is reunited with his old rival, Jimmy Murtaugh (Eugene Levy). Jimmy has eight children and is married for the third time—to Sarina (Carmen Elektra). The rest of the film is spent with both fathers trying to outdo one another and prove that each is the better dad, with better children. Jimmy has done extremely well financially, and all of his children are smart and disciplined. The two men end the summer in a competition to prove once and for all who is the better family. All the while, this movie was proving itself to be poor in moviemaking quality and moral content.

There were aspects of this movie that made me want to leave the theater. The pregnant daughter, Nora, repeatedly wore clothing that exposed her belly. (I have been pregnant 5 times, and although I truly believe a pregnant woman is beautiful, I resent Hollywood pushing the exposed belly.) Although there was no nudity, there was skimpy clothing—from bikinis to low cut tops, short skirts, etc. Sarina’s (Carmen) clothing was usually low cut, and in one scene the Baker’s dog mauls her and is licking her breasts. I found the scene disturbing and tasteless for a family movie.

The daughter, Sarah Baker is caught stealing make-up, and there is no punishment for this. Little foul language is used, but some especially disturbing to Christians. A woman in a movie theater says “Sweet Jesus,” and there were a few “Oh my g__.” Hillary Duff’s character says she is “P____ off.”

Aside from the clothing and language, the overall theme of the movie disheartened me. Repeatedly the children called their dad “DUDE.” At one point, Bonnie Hunt (Mom) says “Men are clueless.” Over and over, this movie portrayed both Tom and Jimmy as bumbling fathers. There was the underlying message that parents don’t know what is best for their children. Far too many movies and TV shows portray the father as clueless and no one respects him. And I would be hard pressed to find a movie or television show that shows the dad as the head of the household. As I watched this movie, I was struck by how often my own children talk disrespectfully to their father and because it is so commonplace in our society we don’t even recognize it for what it is.

The Bible tells us to “honor our parents.” Movies like this don’t teach that value, and a constant diet of just such movies undermines the authority of the parents and in particular the father. We are also commanded in scripture to “Love our neighbor.” The Baker and Murtaugh children had no trouble getting along with one another, but the fathers obviously won’t let go of a long time rivalry. We are to honor God in everything we do. We are not to do things to honor ourselves or bring glory to ourselves.

I saw this movie with my husband and 5 children (ages 18 to 1). Afterwards, we all were of the same opinion. We wasted our time and money. I suppose if you decide to see this movie, you can use some of the incidents as teaching moments, but there are much better film choices this Christmas season.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild

Available: Our review of the PREQUEL to this movie, Cheaper by the Dozen

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative—I read a review of this movie before it came out in theaters and since it sounded as if it would be a great family film I didn’t wait for Spotlight’s review before going to see it. What a mistake! I attended the movie with my husband and our 13 year old son. I was ashamed that I had suggested our family see this film. The movie is so full of scantily dressed women with in your face silicone implants that I felt embarrassed to be sitting beside my child. The children in both families exhibit extremely disrespectful behavior and attitudes toward their parents throughout the entire production. Mr. Baker is cast as a complete jerk, insanely jealous of Mr. Murtaugh, and going so far as to employ his lovely young daughter to assist him in getting viciously “even” with his neighbor. The language is far from what would be considered acceptable in a Christian home. This story had great potential, but it’s too bad the producer felt he had to include all the trash. The moral of the story about family togetherness is overshadowed by distasteful sexual innuendos and immature adult responses to life’s inequities. I would suggest leaving the kids at home or skipping this one altogether!
My Ratings: Offensive / 3½
Anna, age 48
Positive—I… was pleasantly surprised to find the movie was unlike the bad press. The comments regarding the father seen in a negative light are way overblown. In fact, I felt the father in particular was honored greatly and even the antagonist father competing against Steve Martin’s character finds correction and support. The ending puts this father in particular in a very positive light. Comedic bumbling shouldn’t be misconstrued as destructive against fathers or the 4th commandment. Fathers make mistakes and learn from them. It isn’t demeaning to this maturity process take place but reassuring instead when the same kinds of fathers faults are done. …Overall, the film brought out warm, touching family values that Christian families will be proud of. While we will individually take exception to the vanity of some characters, early ideas of first dates, using the Lord’s name in vain, etc. the overall benefit was moving and as a father I connected with the theme and prayed after the film to be more truly deserving of this honorific title as father. Go see it with your wife and trust me she will likely shed a tear or two near the end not because you wasted any money but because you feel emotionally charged to believe in such a thing as family and the love and unity that it brings us as Christians. Fathers beware, you too may need a bit of your wife’s Kleenex for a moist spot of your own!
My Ratings: Good / 4½
Scott Leigh, age 42
Neutral—I went to see this movie with a friend to pre-screen it before taking my 6 and 8 year old children. I read the reviews on this site prior to going. I thought the movie was very funny. Not as good as the first, but still funny. I hate when the Father figures are played as stupid in family movies. However, I thought the fathers were silly, rather than stupid in this particular movie. There was one part that I really found offensive. The family dog “mounts” Carmen Electra’s character. It was way over the top and went on and on and on. I am not a prude, but this was really gross totally sick. There is no way I could take my kids to see this movie with that in it. I really do not know what these Hollywood people were thinking.
My Ratings: Offensive / 2½
Suzanne, age 36
Positive—I loved this movie because it teaches you that you don’t have to look pretty just be with someone you like and that they would like you the way you already are.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4
Positive—…I am very choosy about movie content to which my children are exposed. I did not find the movie offensive at all… I am not naive; however, I did not find this movie to be inappropriate or offensive. While Carmen Electra wore clothing that showed cleavage, we see worse daily at the grocery store, mall, etc. “The Boulders” was the name of the Murtaughs’ lakefront property. I never would have guessed it to have a secondary meaning. I was also dreading the dog scene, but I did not find it sexually suggestive at all. We all know that the idea of 13 year olds dating is ridiculous, but unfortunately, it’s a fact of life for many poor children in this country, and it led to a good discussion afterwards. …We enjoyed this movie and look forward to seeing it again on video.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
Kristine, age 42
Positive—This was a nice, clean movie. It was not extremely entertaining, and Steve Martin was definitely not at his funniest. But it was a nice warm family movie.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 1
Bonnie Bryant, age 54
Negative—This movie is too predictable. You can tell that when the Bakers face off against the other family in a contest, then she blows water. This movie shows off boobs a little too much. I think the director should be ashamed of himself… If there is a “Cheaper by the Dozen 3,” let’s be smart Christians and pass on it.
My Ratings: Extremely Offensive / 1
Jeff, age 24
Positive—I love Steve Martin; I think he is funny… I was excited to see the movie. …Yes, there are a few scenes that are not good, but they are not offensive in any way. …
My Ratings: Good / 3
Jason, age 30
Comments from young people
Neutral—The movie “Cheaper By the Dozen 2” is a movie most suitable for an audience that are at the age of eight or older. The movie contains some sex and gross related words. The movie also has a pregnant woman in it in with some intense pregnancy moments… The profanity is only a small amount, only when a lady uses the p-word. The movie has no violence. The movie contains plenty of crude humor though, because Steve Martin and Eugene Levey’s parts are competitive and briefly trashy. Though overall the movie has plenty of laughs and is an enjoyable movie for the whole family.
My Ratings: Average / 3
Matthew Jackson, age 10
Neutral—I don’t really think this movie is that offensive except for one part. I didn’t really like it when the man in the wheelchair kept getting pushed into the water. Everyone in the theater was laughing really hard (except me). I don’t really think that was necessary. …otherwise, it was just really corny!!! Especially the whole Sarah/Elliot thing. Ugh. I like Romance movies and stuff, but that was just stupid and corny. I don’t think I would watch this movie again. …
My Ratings: Average / 3½
Bree, age 13
Positive—This was a great movie. My parents even liked it, and they usually find something wrong with every single movie! But they loved this movie! Great family film they told me! Rent it!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 5
Micah, age 12
Neutral—I saw this movie with my 12-year-old cousin and my aunt. I thought the first “Cheaper by the Dozen” was much better. In this movie, the kids were really mean and disrespectful to their dad. They should have been much more understanding of the fact that he was having a hard time watching them all grow up. I also thought that the movie portrayed it as okay to be pregnant out of wedlock, because everyone in the movie just acted like it was totally normal for the oldest daughter to be pregnant and still not married. And quite honestly, I thought it was unnecessary for the 13 year olds to be going out. Yes, it most definitely happens in real life, but they really shouldn’t be encouraging it. I didn’t think this movie was all that funny. For the most part it was lame. If you were thinking about watching this movie, don’t. Just stay home and watch the first C“heaper by the Dozen.” You’ll enjoy it much more.
My Ratings: Average / 3
Ashley, age 14
Negative—I saw this movie and was not too impressed. The ending was nice, when the kids worked together, but as a whole, there was a lot of trash. A lot of the women’s outfits were very revealing, and the dads weren’t treated with much respect. I can see the point the producers were trying to make about the family working together and all, but I didn’t appreciate the junk they threw in.
My Ratings: Average / 4
Megan, age 13
Positive—I thought this was a funny and very enjoyable movie. Any movie about a family with twelve children is bound to be fun. I, being fifteen, didn’t have many problems with it, other than the one or two swear words. However, if I was a mother with my own children, I might have found more to object to. But all in all, I thought it was a good movie, and I would definitely rent it again.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
Anna, age 15
Positive—This was a very good family film. Nothing offensive to even the youngest of children. I really enjoyed it!
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
Sarah, age 14
Neutral—…a good movie for kids 12 and under, but I personally think it wasn’t very exciting. I would rate it just as good as the first one. There wasn’t any kissing scenes besides the parents (but obviously they’re married, so it wasn’t bad). So it was appropriate for kids. There was no language, and overall it was a good family movie.
My Ratings: Good / 3
Mike Ruvido, age 12
Positive—I liked this move; there was nothing objectionable to it, and it had a few humorous points. One viewer mentioned the pregnant daughter’s belly, and disrespectfulness toward the dad were inappropriate, but I didn’t see anything wrong with it. Pregnancy is a beautiful thing! There was one comment that men are clueless, and in my experience they are! Dads don’t know what is going on inside their daughters, and this movie shows this. I think it was a great portrayal of parental hood. It showed both extremes, and at the end the eldest Baker says something that is really sweet and ends the movie on a great note. …
My Ratings: Good / 3½
Brittany, age 17
Positive—I went into this movie expecting another run of the will bad sequel. I came out with the exact opposite frame of mind. They were able to tell another good story about this big family. The acting was great and was a funny movie. I do agree that there were a few too many low cut shirts and short shorts, but everyone needs to realize that people wear this stuff everyday and they like it. … As far as the kids calling their dad “dude” I don’t find this disheartening at all. As a matter of fact they might just be showing their dad a lot of respect by giving him this nickname and treating them like the human that he is. They’re telling him that they care for him enough to show him this affection. They are definitely not disrespecting him though.

I didn’t see any messages that parents don’t know how to raise their kids. I saw the exact opposite. You have two loving fathers that care for their children and only want what’s best for them. Their methods are questionable but no father or mother can say they’ve been perfect and have never made mistakes with their kids. Its a great movie also because Steve Martin’s character comes to terms with the fact that his kids are growing up and he has to cope with that. All parents should realize this truth that their kids are going to do things you don’t agree with and that they will be leaving you one day but that’s life. You’ve done it and so has everyone else in the world. Go see this movie. You find an appreciation for parents and all they go through. It gives you a great sense of family unity, love, and respect for one another.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3½
Steve Marks, age 16
Positive—…Yes, P____ off isn’t a good word for the little ones to hear, but I found this movie as one of the few good ones I’ve seen this year. I loved the acting of Steve Martin in this film, and I say if you are fine with your kids hearing 2 crude comments that they don’t even understand, then definitely go see this movie. Excellent job!
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Zach B, age 15
Positive—This movie was extremely good. I went to see it with my parents and 4 year old sisters. It’s a great family movie. I loved it, my little sisters liked it, even my parents got a kick out of it! This film is definitely worth seeing.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
Nyssa, age 14
Positive—I liked this movie. I’m fifteen, and a large number of people would think teens wouldn’t like it. I loved it. I was a big fan of the first movie also, so I was so happy to find out about the second. A lot of the jokes from the first movie were repeated, but they added in some relationships and many other things that happen to every family.
My Ratings: Good / 4
Alessi, age 15
Positive—When I read the reviews for this movie, I was kind of iffy about seeing it! but then when I asked a friend what they thought of it, and they thoroughly enjoyed it. So I decided to take my chances and go see it! As I was sitting in the theater I thought of all the horrible reviews it was given, and thought none of it was questionable! A young child could go see it! But only the only thing I found was Eugene Levy’s wife wore shirts showing a lot of cleavage, and that is about it! It may have been a bit corny, but it was a fun corny! I had fun and got a lot of laughs out of it! and I definitely think it was not a waste of my money or time! So I give this movie a positive review! if you have younger children like 3+ and would definitely give you the a-okay to go see it! This movie was fun and enjoyable! It may have not referred to the bible in anyway, but it was more of an entertainment movie. If you’re a person that likes to go see fun entertainment movies, this is definitely a pretty good choice to go see!
My Ratings: Good / 4
Victoria, age 15
Positive—It was better that “Cheaper by the Dozen”; it showed more love and difference in the children. The love in it was wonderful. The kids in the movie did a great job. When they stuck together in the end, it was a great ending. I recommend that every one see this movie because it shows the love people can have.
My Ratings: Excellent! / 4½
Trinity, age 13
Positive—I went to see this movie with one of my friends a couple of months ago. We both really enjoyed it. A nice Friday night family movie.
My Ratings: Good / 5
Theresa, age 13
Positive—The Cheaper By the Dozen movies are much cleaner than most of the movies Hollywood puts out today. They’ve been able to be good, funny movies without being offensive. These movies are a relief from the comedies we’ve been seeing lately. But be warned, the first “Cheaper By the Dozen” was pretty funny, but this one was found lacking in the humor department much more than its predecessor. It is a decent family comedy, but I would recommend that you just wait until it comes out to rent before you see it.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
Ross, age 16
Positive—I really liked this movie! I didn’t think that it was quite as good as the first one, but it was pretty close. It had all the same actors in it. Steve Martin was hilarious, Bonnie Hunt was very convincing, and Eugene Levy was absolutely perfect in his role as Steve Martin’s overly competitive rival with the “perfect” family. This sequel, in a way, was less offensive than the first one. This is mostly because of the fact that Nora, the eldest Baker child, is now happily married and pregnant. In the first one, if you recall, she was living with Ashton Kutcher’s character and there were several references to the two of them sleeping together. This movie had little offensive content. I thought that the presence of Carmen Electra as Eugene Levy’s wife was a little unnecessary. Because of her presence, a few subtle jokes about the size of her breasts work their way in. As for language, I think I heard a couple of uses of “suck” and one of “pissed.” Other than those couple of minor things, I didn’t find anything offensive about the movie. I suppose some people might find Kate and Tom Baker’s way of parenting and discipline a little loose, but it wasn’t any more so than in the first movie. Overall, I thought it was VERY funny and harmless.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
Shelby Purvis, age 15
Positive—I saw the first one and didn’t think it was very good. The second movie didn’t make me laugh like crazy or anything out of the ordinary, but it sure was a lot better then the first one. Overall, it was surprisingly clean.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 4
Natalia, age 14
Neutral—I actually thought the movie would have been better. I enjoyed it, but like I said it could have been better.
My Ratings: Better than Average / 3
Sarah, age 14
Movie Critics
…plenty of warmth and heart among its funny shticks… carefully constructed moments of relatable family drama and adventure…
Crosswalk, Lisa Rice
…schmaltz, another movie ode to permissive parenting…
Orlando Sentinel, Roger Moore
…The sequel to “Cheaper by the Dozen” is completely pointless and rarely funny, wasting some talented comedians…
Associated Press, David Germain