Cheaper By The Dozen 2 [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
Review written by and copyright: Andreas Petersen (15th January 2010).
The Film

If youíre reading this review for "Cheaper by the Dozen 2," Iíll give you the respect of not making any sort of lazy joke pertaining to ďWell, I didnít see the original, so how can I follow the plot AHAHA!Ē I respect you far too much to patronize you like this. That being said, I never did see "Cheaper by the Dozen" (2003), as I could already tell it was the type of movie that was about 10,000 light-years away from being aimed towards me. That doesnít keep me from having about zero fun watching the film, but it does offer me some perspective.

Iím not the kind of person who harbors any ill will towards Steve Martin for his theatrical choices as of late. Iím a huge fan of his work up until a certain point, and then all of a sudden he stopped making movies for the same people who liked "The Jerk" (1979). He started making movies for parents who donít want to watch adult movies. In essence, he makes kids movies for adults.

What we have here is what Iíd like to call harmless fun, but that would insinuate that I enjoyed the film on some sort of level, which I surely did not. The plot follows Tom Baker (Steve Martin) and his wife Kate (Bonnie Hunt). They have twelve kids, and boy is their life crazy because of it. I have to guess the family was more knit together in the last film, because "C2" (as the director calls the movie) is about the family beginning to move apart from each other. Some of the kids have grown up and are having their own kids, some are graduating from high school, and some just walk around in the background. Tom is threatened by this, and organizes a family trip to a cabin by a lake. Across the pond is the rival Murtaugh clan, headed by father Jimmy (Eugene Levy). While the Baker family is about as disorganized as can be, the Murtaughs are clean cut, well behaved, and wear red track suits. The contrasts couldnít be starker.

The entire film leads up to a big family cup involving participation in different events, like sack races and that game where you carry an egg on a spoon. Tom and Jimmy are obsessed with outdoing each other, and it begins to cost them their childrenís affection, but in an entirely wholesome way.

"Cheaper By the Dozen 2" is an incredibly simple film, with your nut shots, montages, terrible music cues (the use of ďWhy Canít We Be FriendsĒ should be illegal at this point), and Steve Martin being a wacky dad. The movie never really goes beyond that point. Iím guessing that it really doesnít need to. For couples with kids of their own who want to see an inoffensive distorted reflection of what they think their lives are, but were too threatened by Ice Cube in "Are We There Yet?" (2005), they will find everything they need here. This just couldnít be further than the movie for me.

If you have any sort of taste for films that go outside the box, the last movie you want to see is "Cheaper by the Dozen 2." The only thing worthwhile here for anyone remotely interested in the ironic side of the movie is seeing Taylor Lautner when we has like 14-years-old and a shrimp. Other than that, what we have here is a-typical stuff that would best be played on the Disney Channel from 10 AM to 1 PM. You know. The time when kids are in school.

Video

"Cheaper by the Dozen 2" is presented in a HD 1080p 24/fps widescreen 2.35:1 transfer mastered in AVC MPEG-4 codec compression, and in terms of video quality, this movie shows up in every way it needed to. The picture quality is pretty decent throughout, and considering I was bored out of my mind for most of the movie, I never thought to myself once that the picture was noisy or unclear. While the film has no real visual flair, there are moments where the colors are impressive and clear. Color me surprised, but "Cheaper By the Dozen 2" shows up in a big bad way.

Audio

"Cheaper by the Dozen 2" is offered in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track mixed at 48kHz/24-bit, along with optional French and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround language tracks. Here, the DTS-HD sound of the film was never bad, but at the same time it never impressed me in the same way the picture did. This isnít an action film, but at the same time, the nature setting of the film would have lent itself nicely to a great transfer, but I never felt immersed in the woods along with the Bakers, and that added to the already monumental problem of me being unable to connect with the characters.
Optional subtitles are included in English for the hearing impaired and Spanish.

Extras

"Cheaper by the Dozen 2" offers a few extras in the way of an audio commentary track, a few featurettes, and two theatrical trailers, all of which are discussed below:

First up with have the feature-length audio commentary featuring director Adam Shankman. Here we have one of the most painful commentaries I have ever had to slog my way through. Shankman tries desperately to be funny and somewhat edgy, joking about drinking games that could go along with the game and what not. However, when you get right down to it, we have a director who seriously discusses that a continuing theme in his work is dogs in sweaters. Iím not joking.

Next we have "Fox Movie Channel Presents: Casting Session" featurettes which runs for the length of 8 minutes and 3 seconds. Here the casting directors of the film and talked to, and they discuss the challenge of casting a whole new family to contrast the Bakers in the way of the Murtaughs. Pretty standard stuff to go along with the film.

Up next is "Camp Chaos" featurette, which runs for 10 minutes and 17 seconds, in which the task of directing 20 children is discussed. Most of the prominent children are interviewed here, some of which act like real kids and others who act like Haley Joel Osment circa 1999. Also, the adults of the cast talk about how ďcrazyĒ it is to have so many children around.

"Comedic Trio" featurette, which runs for 5 minutes and 27 seconds, is a short clip in which the chemistry between Martin, Hunt, and Levy is examined. The rest of the cast goes on about how professional they are, and how nice they are, and how funny they really are. This is celebrity ass kissing at itís finest.

Lastly we have two theatrical trailers for the film itself, the first one running for 2 minutes and 10 seconds, and the second which runs for 2 minutes and 26 seconds.

Overall

The Film: D Video: B+ Audio: B- Extras: D Overall: C-

 


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