Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno
|Adventure Comedy Kids Family Sequel
|Year of Release:
December 21, 2005 (wide)
|Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff, Tom Welling, Piper Perabo, Eugene Levy, Carmen Elektra
|Adam Shankman, Jennifer Gibgot, Garrett Grant
|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.