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Cheaper by the Dozen (2003 film)

Cheaper by the Dozen
File:Cheaper by the Dozen 2003 film poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Shawn Levy
Produced by Robert Simonds
Michael Barnathan
Ben Myron
Screenplay by Sam Harper
Joel Cohen
Alec Sokolow
Story by Craig Titley
Based on Cheaper by the Dozen 
by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr.
Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
Starring Steve Martin
Narrated by Bonnie Hunt
Music by Christophe Beck
Cinematography Jonathan Brown
Edited by George Folsey, Jr.
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • December 25, 2003 (2003-12-25)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million
Box office $190.2 million[1]

Cheaper by the Dozen is a 2003 American family comedy film which takes its title from the autobiographical book of the same name by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, but despite the title and the concept of a family with twelve children, the film bears no resemblance to the book nor its original film adaptation, although it is mentioned that the mother's maiden name is Gilbreth. The film was directed by Shawn Levy, narrated by Bonnie Hunt, and starring Steve Martin. The film was released on December 25, 2003 by 20th Century Fox, ultimately grossing just over $190 million worldwide.[1]


Tom Baker (Martin) is a football coach at a small rural college in Midland, Indiana, where he raised twelve children, and his wife, Kate (Hunt), has written about her story in a book and hopes to send it to her friend to publish it. At the film's beginning, Tom unexpectedly receives an offer from his old friend and football teammate, Shake McGuire (Jenkins), to coach at his alma mater in Evanston, Illinois. Tom accepts the offer, and he and Kate begin making their plans on moving to Evanston. All twelve children find out and demand the move be put to a vote, even though Tom says it would not have any power. Tom loses the vote, even after he and Kate join, but goes ahead with the move anyway, claiming there will be more money and that they will be a "happier and stronger family". However, the atmosphere at the Bakers' new house is tense, and the situation at school for the children is even worse, although their new neighbors' the Shenks seem allright, especially their first and only son, Dylan.

When her book is ready for publication, Kate is recommended to do a national book tour to promote it. Tom thinks that he will handle everything around the Bakers' house while Kate is away, so he decides to hire the Bakers' oldest child, Nora (Perabo), and her boyfriend, Hank (Kutcher), to manage the children. When Nora and Hank arrive at the Bakers' house to manage them, the children plans to make Hank the target of their prank by soaking his underwear in meat and assisting the Bakers' pet dog, Gunner, to attack him by chewing his bottom, prompting him to refuse to assist in baby-sitting. As a result, Nora is angry at the children and later drives off with Hank, while Tom berates the children for their prank and cuts off their allowance within a month. Moments after Kate departs for her national book tour, Tom realizes that he cannot handle the children on his own after a chaotic night. In reply to this revelation, Tom tries to hire a housekeeper, but nobody is willing to work with a family as large as the Bakers, so Tom decides to bring the football players from work into the Bakers' house for game practicing in the living room to prepare for the Saturday night football game as the children perform chores and their household games. However, the children start causing trouble at school, in which Kyle and Nigel hurt their kindergarten teacher, and the others stand-up against a group of bullies by fighting them. Because of these incidents, Tom grounds them all and forbids them from going to Dylan's birthday party, although they already have presents for him. Without Tom noticing them, the children sneak out of the house to give Dylan his presents. While discussing the plays, Tom overhears party-goers screaming from Dylan's house as one of the gifts turns out to be a snake. In all of the commotion, Dylan gets injured by Tom and is later sent to the hospital as Tina forbids the Baker kids from playing with Dylan again. Tom is forced to cancel the game after Shake advises him not to bring the players in the Bakers' house or the children in the department again.

Kate overhears from the children about the chaos and cancels the book tour to take charge of the situation. Kate's publisher decides to create an additional promotion for her book by inviting Oprah Winfrey to tape a segment about the Bakers in their home instead. Despite much coaching from Kate, the Bakers are not able to demonstrate the loving, strongly bonded family that Kate described in her book. When Mark (Landis) becomes upset that his pet frog, Beans, has died, and Sarah rudely tells him that nobody cares and calling him Fedex once again, a heated fight erupts moments before the segment starts, leading the cameramen to tell Winfrey to cancel it. Afterwards, Mark runs away from home, prompting the Bakers to find him. Tom indulges a hunch that Mark is trying to run back to the Bakers' old home, and eventually finds Mark on an Amtrak train en route from Chicago to Midland. Reuniting with the rest of their family, the Bakers begin to address their issues with each other. Tom ultimately resigns from his position at his alma mater and settles for a less-time consuming job. The film ends when Kate narrates that the Bakers are becoming close.


The Bakers



A sequel, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, was released in the United States on December 21, 2005.


"Cheaper by the Dozen" Soundtrack
No. Title Length
1. "I'm Just a Kid"   1:24
2. "Help!"   1:12
3. "In Too Deep"   2:46
4. "What Christmas Should Be"   3:10
5. "Life Is a Highway"    
6. "These Are Days"    
7. "Rockin' Robin"    
8. "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"    

Other compositions used in the movie are "Classical Gas" by Mason Williams and Carl Orff's "O Fortuna", among others.


Awards and nominations

Cheaper by the Dozen has been nominated and won several awards. The following is a list of these:

Result Type of award Category Year
Nominated Teen Choice Award Choice movie blush (Hilary Duff), Choice breakout movie star (male) (Tom Welling), Choice movie liplock 2004[2]
Won Young artist award Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated Best performance in feature film (Alyson Stoner and Forrest Landis)

Critical reception

The film received mixed to negative reviews from film critics, with 23% of critics giving a positive review and an average score of 4.6 out of 10 according Rotten Tomatoes, based on 112 reviews.[3] Despite initial reactions, the film was given "Two Thumbs Up" from Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper on their television show, and became a box office hit. The film opened at #2 ranking in US$27,557,647 in its first opening weekend and, despite being kept from the top spot by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, went on to gross $190,212,113 worldwide.[1] Ashton Kutcher was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor for his performance in this, and two other films, but lost to Ben Affleck for his performances in Daredevil, Gigli and Paycheck.[4]

Home media

The film was released on VHS and DVD on April 6, 2004.


  1. ^ a b c "Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  2. ^ "Awards won". IMDB. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  3. ^ "Cheaper by the Dozen". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  4. ^ "2003 RAZZIE Nominees & "Winners" - The Official RAZZIE Forum - Page 1". 2011-11-13. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 

External links