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Cheaper By The Dozen - Franchise History + Where to Stream
Plus my review of the 2022 remake
The Cheaper By The Dozen franchise is a beloved series of films that has entertained audiences for decades. From the original 1948 novel to the 2022 remake, the Baker family has captured the hearts of generations of film-goers. In this article, I will delve into the origins of the franchise, examine the 2003, 2005, and 2022 films, and then look at home the family has evolved over the years. Finally, we will take a look at where you can watch and stream all of the Cheaper by the Dozen films.
The Origins of the Cheaper By The Dozen Franchise
The Original 1948 Novel
The Cheaper By The Dozen franchise began with a novel of the same name, written by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. The book tells the story of the Gilbreth family, consisting of parents Frank and Lillian and their twelve children. The novel was based on the real-life experiences of the Gilbreth family, who were pioneers in the study of time and motion efficiency in the early twentieth century.
The Gilbreth family's innovative work in the field of time and motion efficiency revolutionized the way that many industries operate today. Frank Gilbreth was a pioneer in the field of industrial engineering, and his work helped to streamline processes and increase efficiency in factories and other workplaces. Lillian Gilbreth was also a groundbreaking figure in her own right, becoming the first female engineer to earn a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.
The novel Cheaper By The Dozen was a heartwarming and humorous portrayal of the Gilbreth family's experiences, and it quickly became a bestseller. Readers were charmed by the family's antics and the loving relationship between Frank and Lillian, who were portrayed as a truly equal partnership in both their work and their family life.
The 1950 Film Adaption
The success of the novel led to a film adaptation in 1950. The film starred Clifton Webb and Myrna Loy as Frank and Lillian Gilbreth, and became an instant classic. The film was a box office hit and received critical acclaim, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay.
The film adaptation of Cheaper By The Dozen was notable for its portrayal of the Gilbreth family's unique approach to parenting, which emphasized teamwork and efficiency. The film also highlighted the challenges that the family faced as they tried to balance their work and family responsibilities, and showed how they ultimately came together to overcome those challenges.
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The Franchise is Revived
The 2003 Cheaper by the Dozen Film
The 2003 remake of Cheaper by The Dozen tells the story of Tom and Kate Baker, who are struggling to balance their careers as parents and their careers as successful professionals. Tom is a college football coach and Kate is a writer who is about to publish her first book. They have 12 children, who are all unique in their own way. When Tom receives an offer to coach his alma mater's football team, the family must relocate to a small town in Illinois. Chaos ensues as the family struggles to adjust to their new surroundings.
As they settle into their new home, the Bakers face a number of challenges. The children have trouble fitting in at their new school, and the family has to deal with a number of unexpected problems, including a pet frog that escapes and wreaks havoc on the town. Meanwhile, Kate struggles to balance her writing career with her responsibilities as a mother of 12.
The Star-Studded Cast
The film's star-studded cast included Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt as the parents, who brought a perfect blend of humor and heart to their roles. The film also featured two young actors on the verge of stardom, Hilary Duff, who played the rebellious oldest daughter and Ashton Kutcher, who played the Baker's oldest son, Charlie. These performances were praised for their heartwarming and humorous depictions of family life, specifically Steven Martin as he carried forward has charming dad persona that he used in the Father of the Bride films ten years earlier.
Reception and Box Office Success
The 2003 film was a box office hit, grossing over $190 million worldwide. However, critical reception was mixed, with some critics praising the film's heartwarming story and others criticizing it for being too formulaic. Despite the mixed reviews, the film was a favorite among audiences, who appreciated its heartwarming portrayal of family life.
The 2005 Sequel: Cheaper By The Dozen 2
Two years after the release of the first film, a sequel, Cheaper By The Dozen 2, was released. The film followed the Baker family as they spend a summer vacation at a lake resort, where they encounter their biggest rivals - the Murtaugh family, who have eight children of their own. Tensions rise as the two families compete in a series of hilarious competitions.
The competition between the Bakers and the Murtaughs is not just about winning, but also about learning to appreciate each other's differences and strengths. Through the competitions, the families learn to work together and ultimately form a bond that goes beyond the rivalry. The film highlights that there is no one correct way how to parent, but many ways that work as long as love for the children is at the center.
Returning Cast Members
Many of the original cast members returned for the sequel, including Steve Martin as Tom Baker, Bonnie Hunt as Kate Baker, and Hilary Duff as Lorraine Baker. The addition of new cast members such as Eugene Levy and Carmen Electra gave the film a fresh feel, while still capturing the essence of the first film.
Eugene Levy played Jimmy Murtaugh, the patriarch of the Murtaugh family and Tom Baker's longtime rival. Levy's comedic timing and chemistry with Martin added to the film's humor and tension. Carmen Electra played Sarina Murtaugh, a beautiful and flirtatious woman who catches the eye of several of the Baker boys, much to their father's chagrin. Additionally, in the time honored tradition of casting a young star in the film as one of the kids, a young Taylor Lautner plays Elliot Murtaugh.
Reception and Box Office Performance
Cheaper By The Dozen 2 was another box office success, grossing over $130 million worldwide. The critical reception was once again mixed, with some critics praising the film's humorous and heartwarming story, while others criticized it for relying too heavily on formulaic family film tropes.
The 2022 Remake - My Full Review
Now that we have explored the history of this beloved franchise, lets dive into my thoughts on the latest remake. One thing that you will notice off the bat is how quickly a new remake happened this time. There were 53 years between the original film and the 2003 remake, while there where only 19 years between the 2003 remake and the 2022 remake. The problem being, some of the same generations that interacted with the 2003 film are still very much interacting with the new film. If someone grew up watching the 2003 film and now has kids, they probably are used to the 2003 remake and are more likely to show their kids that version. This wasn’t an issue with the 2003 remake because anybody that watched it as a kid was in their 60s by the time the remake came out.
Quick Thoughts on the 2022 Remake - Literally no one was asking for Disney to reboot this beloved classic. When you remake a classic, there is very minimal room for error, but Cheaper By The Dozen misses by so much that it is bad before you even start to compare it to the original.
The Good of the 2022 Remake- There are a couple funny moments and one sweet storyline that centers around the family taking in their troubled nephew Seth. This was the one new storyline that I thought the film did a really good job with.
The Bad of the 2022 Remake - The opening few minutes of the film give us Braff’s cheesy and awkward voiceover that lets you know early on that the next 2 hours are going to be a bumpy ride. Also in the opening few minutes of the film we see one of the major flaws of the film, the story and family was WAY too complex (EX: The mom is married, has kids, then is divorced. The dad is married, has kids, then is divorced. They then get married, have kids of their own, and then also adopt some kids. On top of this, both of their ex-spouses are heavily involved in the plot, and a nephew also comes to stay with them). I understand that they were trying to make everyone find something to relate to in the story, but that came at the cost of confusion. It took me almost the whole movie to figure out how some of the characters fit in (like Paul’s ex-wife) and I honestly thought that one of the kids was just a friend over at their house until almost the end of the movie.
The main flaw with the film is that it tries to hit on way too many weighty issues and it couldn’t decide which one it wanted to focus on. Throughout the film the topics of racism, parenting with a divorced spouse, bullying, classism, sexism, theft, drug addiction, adoption, and white parents raising black children. Because this movie tried to tackle everything, it felt like the end result was that it tackled nothing. It also just ruins the fun and excitement that the Baker family is known for because we are always being present with weighty issue after weighty issue.
On top of everything that I have already mentioned, the editing is chaotic, the acting is painful and robotic at times, and the whole thing is just noisy and cheesy.
Rating of the 2022 Remake - 30/100
Best Performance of the 2022 Remake - Mykal-Michelle Harris as Luna stole the show
Final Takeaways of the 2022 Remake - The only good thing that came out of me spending two hours of my time watching this is that I gained a deeper appreciate for how great Steve Martin’s Cheaper by the Dozen is. Additionally, the similarity between Zach Braff and Dax Shepard made me wish that we got a Cheaper by the Dozen with Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell as the parents instead of this remake.
The Evolution of the Baker Family Through the Years
While there are many downsides to the film having so many remakes over the years, one of the positives is to see how the family evolved over the years. The original film was made in 1950, when family dynamics were very different from modern-day families. The 2003 remake incorporates modern family issues such as working parents, divorce, and blended families. While the 2022 remake incorporates issues that more modern families are facing such as drug addiction, adoption, living in an inter-racial family, racism, and disability. The Bakers are a blended family in both the 2003 and 2022 remake, with parents who have children from previous marriages. This adds an additional layer of complexity to their family dynamics, as they navigate the challenges of blending two families together.
The remakes reflects the changing nature of families and the challenges they face in the twenty-first century. It helps show that families come in all shapes and sizes, and that what's most important is the love and support they provide to each other.
Where to Watch & Stream Cheaper by the Dozen?
Cheaper by the Dozen (1950)
Streaming - Not currently streaming
Purchase - Can be bought on Amazon or Vudu
Cheaper By the Dozen (2003)
Streaming - Disney+
Purchase - Can be bought on Amazon or Vudu
Cheaper By the Dozen 2 (2005)
Streaming - Disney+
Purchase - Can be bought on Amazon or Vudu
Cheaper by the Dozen (2022)
Streaming - Disney+
Purchase - Currently can’t be purchased anywhere
Whether you are a fan of the original 1950 film or the remakes, the Cheaper by The Dozen franchise has something for everyone. From heartwarming family moments to hilarious competitions, the films capture the joy and chaos of family life. While there are differences between the films, both the original and the remakes have captured the hearts of audiences for generations.
What is your favorite Cheaper by the Dozen film?
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