Cheaper by the Dozen 2

Bomb Rating: 

Hot on the heels of "Yours, Mine, and Ours", "Cheaper by the Dozen 2" is out, promoting the idea that overpopulating both the planet and one's immediate neighborhood is a good idea and that a woman can squeeze out ten children, yet still have the figure of Bonnie Hunt and the amazing, upbeat personality to match.

Have the Bakers heard of birth control? In this day and age, there's simply no good excuse for having that many children. First of all, it's annoying. Second of all, it's expensive. Of course, as with most Hollywood movies, the whole idea of working to support one's family is entirely tossed aside. There's no way Kate (Bonnie Hunt) could have any sort of career as she's spent most of her life pregnant. And Tom, though he used to coach some rinky-dink college football team, now appears to be unemployed. The whole movie should be about how the Bakers slave away, day and night, in their garden under the nearest highway overpass, just to keep their kids fed and social services off their back.

This episode begins with Lorraine (Hilary Duff) graduating from either college or high school (I couldn't tell) and getting ready to go off to New York to work for Allure magazine. Nora (Piper Perabo) is pregnant, and she and her husband are planning to move to Houston. This prompts Tom (Steve Martin) to convince everyone to go on one last family trip to some lake where they run into Jimmy Murtaugh (Eugene Levy), Tom's counterpart and patriarchal nemesis. The two families inevitably battle for some title that's mentioned in the early part of the film as Tom recounts his family's inability to ever defeat the Murtaughs in competition.

I think that Steve Martin is a reasonably intelligent guy, so is anyone else as pained as me watching his excruciating performances in this type of junk? It's like ever since "Parenthood" he's figured out he can do the same basic performance over and over again and get away with it. A trailer for the remake of "The Pink Panther" preceded the film. Ugh. Same performance. French accent. Can't wait!

And what happened to Hilary Duff? First of all, it frequently seems like she's a special effect in this film - as though the rest of the actors acted against a green screen and Hilary Duff was inserted later. To make things worse, she looks like some underfed refugee from the Joan Rivers School of Cosmetics.

Whatever the current fascination with big families is, I just wish it would go away.

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