Steve Martin, Eugene Levy and a bunch of kids, sounds like a good remedy after a time out.
I know this is a kid's film but it still feels a little too saccharine.
Steve Martin and the rest of the cast from the first movie return in Cheaper by the Dozen 2. This second installment sees Tom Baker (Steve Martin) and Kate Baker (Bonnie Hunt) taking their family away for the summer. As the characters are growing older, moving on and moving out, Tom Baker's hope is that this summer event will bring the family closer. Things change when Baker's old rival Jimmy Murtaugh (Eugene Levy) shows up, and suddenly both families find themselves battling one another in competition after competition.
While I think Cheaper by the Dozen 2 is filled with it's fair share of embarrassing moments, both for the characters and the viewers, ultimately I feel that this family film has it's heart in the right place.
I was really looking forward to this commentary by Adam Shankman simply because whenever I can hear how a director puts across comedy on screen, I am all ears. While it wasn't as insightful as I wanted it to be, he does explain the various effects in the film, working with such a big cast and tends to tell us what we are seeing on screen.
This featurette examines not only the Baker family but the Murtaugh's as well. Introducing a whole new family into the mix has many ripple effects. First of all, there has to be chemistry between all the characters that are interacting on screen. Considering the amount of characters in this film, even more caution has to be given. This segment examines all of that as well as gives us thoughts from the children's perspective.
A short segment that focuses a lot on the kids from this movie. Lets be honest, with all these people gathered together in the outdoorsy main location of the film, it would be hard for this set not to feel like a summer camp. The kids discuss working with the adults, the adults talk about the kids and all in all we are taken into the world of Cheaper by the Dozen 2.
Bonnie Hunt, Steve Martin and Eugene Levy are featured here. Truthfully, I never saw these three as a comedic trio but there is a chemistry between all the actors that does work for this movie. While I would like to see Martin and Levy in edgier fare along the lines of Bringing Down the House (another Adam Shankman film), overall they do very credible work in this film. I also think it's interesting hearing the little kids try and talk like adults when they talk about these actors.
This movie can be watched in both Full Screen (1.33:1) and Anamorphic Widescreen (2.35:1). This film really captures the look of summer. It has that familiar family quality where nothing about the images are too striking, but the film still looks good nonetheless. As this movie is a family film and it's supposed to appeal to the largest possible audience, I found that in watching segments of this movie in both Full Screen and Widescreen, nothing was lost in the transition.
Dolby Digital. English, Spanish and French Dolby Surround. Subtitled in English and Spanish. Close Captioned. The audio for this movie could best be described as light. There is a bounciness to the soundtrack and all the character's deliveries that makes this film one of those that goes down easy.
As I recall the cover shot of this DVD, which features the Baker family, is the same as the one used for the poster when this film was released. The back has various shots from the film (one of which includes an embarrassing shot of Steve Martin and Eugene Levy), a tiny description of this movie, a "Special Features" menu, a cast list and some technical specs. All in all, for a standard release I think they have solidly put the Cheaper by the Dozen 2 DVD together.
What I think is interesting is how Steve Martin, who by his work on and in movies like Roxanne and Shopgirl, shows he is very intelligent, but has allowed himself to become pigeonholed as the bumbling father figure trying to do the right thing. I know that that persona is his bread and butter but I honestly feel that he did some of his best work in movies like The Spanish Prisoner and Grand Canyon. I guess I just wonder how he plays down to the level of certain material when it's so apparent that he's very multitalented.
Overall, not the best movie I have ever seen, Cheaper by the Dozen 2 does the franchise proud.
Cheaper by the Dozen 2 was released December 21, 2005.