Story

Tom and Kate Baker (Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt) are the parents of 12 children, with their youngest in junior primary and their oldest daughter Nora (Piper Perabo) married and eight months pregnant. Tom and Kate, somewhat melancholy about the rate at which their brood is leaving home, gather the clan together for one last summer holiday at Lake Winnetka, where the family once spent their summer holidays. When they arrive, they find that Tom’s old high school nemesis Jimmy Murtaugh (Eugene Levy) is holidaying across the lake with his eight children and new wife Sarina (Carmen Electra).

It doesn’t take long for the pair to start locking horns when Jimmy starts to gives Tom advice on how to bring up his children. Meanwhile one of Tom’s younger daughters, Sarah (Alyson Stoner), and Jimmy’s son Eliot (Taylor Launter), develop a liking for each other, as do Tom’s older son Charlie (Tom Welling) and Murtaugh’s oldest daughter. The competition between Tom and Jimmy builds and comes to a head when the two families compete in the annual Labour Day Cup competition.

Themes

None of concern

Violence

There is some slapstick violence in this movie. For example:

  • An argument between Tom and Jimmy develops into a poking match, with the pair poking their fingers at each other’s chests. When Jimmy pokes Tom in the chest, Tom overbalances, falls over the cinema balcony, and dangles there with Jimmy hanging on to his feet.
  • Tom falls off a log and injures his groin.
  • All rivalry between Tom and Jimmy is portrayed in a humorous, slapstick almost cartoon-like context, with no real consequences.

There are some heated verbal exchanges in this movie. For example:

  • An argument in the cinema balcony ends with Tom falling over the balcony.
  • Jimmy threatens that his team would ‘step down on their throats until they stop breathing’.
  • Tom’s daughter Nora pokes her finger at Jimmy’s chest, telling him that he has just ‘pissed off a severely pregnant hormonal woman’.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

There are no scary visual images, but there are some scenes involving dangerous situations set in a comic context, which could concern some very young children.

Over 8

Children over eight will not be disturbed or scared by any scenes or images in this movie.

Sexual references

There is one scene in which the Bakers’ family dog sexually attacks Sarina. This highlights Sarina’s sensuality in a comic manner.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

Alcohol is used on two occasions: one at a graduation party, the other at a clambake at a country club. On both occasions, people are shown drinking beer, wine and champagne.

Nudity and sexual activity

The film contains no nudity, but there are a number of images of scantily dressed women, wearing bikini swimwear and very low-cut tops revealing their cleavages. Other scenes of a sexual nature include:

  • Jimmy’s older daughter catches the eye of Tom’s older son when she swims past in a bikini that exposes a tattoo above her bottom.
  • Jimmy’s wife Sarina wears tight-fitting clothing that exposes much of her cleavage.

Product placement

None

Coarse language

This movie contains occasional mild coarse language and put-downs.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 is a lighthearted family comedy with some clever and funny slapstick. Some adults may feel that the story has little to offer and that the portrayal of the Bakers’ lifestyle is totally unrealistic.

Despite this, the story provides positive messages about the challenges of parenting, the importance of doing your best and accepting your mistakes. It also acknowledges the difficulties that young teenagers face. There are some mixed messages: although appearance is talked about as not being important, 12-year-old Sarah still undergoes a makeover to improve her appearance. And a shoplifting incident, which is supposedly frowned upon, is resolved by using bribery and even justified because it resulted from internal adolescent conflict.

You might like to talk to your child about these issues, as well as qualities presented in the movie such as family support and caring. You could also talk about the real-life consequences of shoplifting, practical jokes that backfire, and slapstick violence.