Eugene Levy and Steve Martin in Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005)

Father of the Super Sized Brood

With his eldest now married and expecting her first child and Lorraine (Hilary Duff - The Perfect Man) graduating and heading off to New York Tom Baker (Steve Martin - Shopgirl) is struggling as his large brood are growing up and becoming independent. Desperate to try and feel like a family again he persuades the entire Baker clan to go on one last family holiday up by the lake but even then his dream of family time doesn't quite come true. Plus with his old rival Jimmy Murtaugh (Eugene Levy - American Pie Presents Band Camp) and his family also holidaying at the lake both father's competitive streaks come out as they try to do outdo each other.

"Cheaper by the Dozen 2" is unfortunately like most sequels a bit of a mistake, it is still good fun but has a feeling of a movie created purely because of the success of the "Cheaper by the Dozen". But the mistake is ironically that it changes focus because where as in the original it was all about Tom struggling with his large family this time around we have Tom struggling with the family growing up and leaving home which in many ways makes it feel like a super sized "Father of the Bride". I wouldn't say that for a minute "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" is desperate but by straying in to the "Father of the Bride" territory highlights that the sequel was made purely to make a buck off of the popularity of the first movie.

Taylor Lautner and Alyson Stoner in Cheaper by the Dozen 2 (2005)

But "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" is not just about Tom dealing with his kids growing up as it also introduces a revilary storyline and so we have Tom and old friend Jimmy Murtaugh being super competitive. The thing is that whilst there is plenty of comedy thanks to this side of the movie it feels like something tossed in there to try and pad out the movie and as such there are plenty of gags which are predictable.

But whilst the humour is predictable it is also fun and that comes down to the pairing of Steve Martin and Eugene Levy who work so well together. Both Martin and Levy play to their strengths delivering characters who feel very familiar from Tom's over enthusiastic arm movements to Jimmy's stiff awkwardness but the timing is great and basically it is because of their timing that the movie works better than it should. As such whilst there is humour else where and the rest of the cast which sees many returning faces plus a few new ones such as Carmen Electra, Jaime King and a very young Taylor Lautner delivering some laughs the majority of the fun comes from Martin and Levy.

What this all boils down to is that "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" is fun but not exactly original. It feels like the writers have turned it into a super sized "Father of the Bride" with Tom struggling with his brood growing up but thanks to the casting of Steve Martin and Eugene Levy it still packs in the laughs.