Cheaper by the Dozen (2003 film)

Cheaper by the Dozen is a 2003 American family comedy film directed by Shawn Levy, and stars Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. The film was released on December 25, 2003, by 20th Century Fox and grossed $190.2 million worldwide against a $40 million budget.[3] The Rotten Tomatoes critical consensus criticizes its lack of humor.[4] A sequel, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, was released in the United States on December 21, 2005.

Cheaper by the Dozen
Cheaper by the Dozen 2003 film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byShawn Levy
Screenplay by
Story byCraig Titley
Based on
Produced by
CinematographyJonathan Brown
Edited byGeorge Folsey, Jr.
Music byChristophe Beck
Distributed by20th Century Fox[1]
Release date
  • December 25, 2003 (2003-12-25) (United States)
Running time
99 minutes[1]
CountryUnited States[1]
Budget$40 million[3]
Box office$190.2 million[3]

It is a remake of the 1950 film of the same name. Both films were inspired by the real life Gilbreth family and the semi-autobiographical account of their lives as written in Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr. and his sister Ernestine Gilbreth Carey.


Tom Baker is a college football coach in Midland, Illinois, where he raised twelve children. His wife, Kate, has written her story in a book and hopes to send it to her friend to publish the book. One day, Tom unexpectedly receives an offer from his old friend and football teammate Shake McGuire to coach at his alma mater in his hometown of Evanston, Illinois. Tom accepts the offer even though the kids are against it and demand a vote on the matter. Tom agrees to the vote, but tells them in the end he will do what he thinks is best for the family, which angers the kids. Charlie is unwilling to leave his home and his girlfriend Beth, and the younger kids are also unwilling to leave friends they have in Midland. The atmosphere at the Bakers' new house is tense, and the situation at school is even worse as Mark and Charlie are both bullied.

When her book is ready to pick up for publication, Kate must embark on a national book tour to promote it. Tom decides to hire the family's eldest child, Nora, and her self-absorbed model/actor boyfriend, Hank, to help him look after the children. When Nora and Hank arrive, the children trip Hank into their kiddie pool full of dirty water. While Hank showers and waits for his clothes to be washed and dried, the children soak his underwear in meat. Later, when Hank joins everyone for lunch, the children unleash the family's dog, Gunner, onto him, prompting him to refuse to assist in babysitting. As a result, a frustrated Nora drives off with Hank, while Tom punishes the children for their prank.

After Kate departs for her book tour, Tom realizes that he cannot handle the children on his own after a chaotic night. As a result, Tom tries to hire a housekeeper, but no one is willing to work with a family as large as the Bakers, so Tom decides to bring the football players from work into the family's 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, including the younger kids having an altercation Mark's bullies that apparently knocked off his eyeglasses the other day. After a frustrated and homesick Charlie gets kicked off the football team, he argues with his father, saying that the move was all about Tom and not the family. Tom then finds out Hank snuck in and slept over against the family's clear rules, and Hank admits that he does not want to have children and that he expects Nora to think the same, which upsets her. Kate gets not 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's frog dies, he tries to tell them the bad news. Sarah coldly reminds him that nobody cares, this proves to be the last straw for Mark, as a heated fight erupts moments before the segment starts, leading the cameramen to call Winfrey to cancel it. Mark runs away from home, prompting the Bakers to find him. When Hank refuses to help and Nora finally sees that her brothers and sisters were right about him, she breaks up with him and joins the search, and reminds Tom how she used to run away from home as a child to Chicago, her favorite place in the world. Tom then indulges a hunch that Mark is trying to run back to the Bakers' old home in Midland, and eventually finds him on an Amtrak train departing from Chicago to Midland. Reuniting with the rest of their family, the Bakers begin to address their issues with each other, and Tom ultimately resigns from his position at his alma mater with Shake to spend more time at home with his family.




The film's director Shawn Levy makes a cameo as a reporter.


"Cheaper by the Dozen" Soundtrack
No.TitleWriter(s)Performed byLength
1."I'm Just a Kid"Simple PlanSimple Plan1:24
2."Help!"Lennon–McCartneyFountains of Wayne1:12
3."In Too Deep"Sum 41Sum 412:46
4."What Christmas Should Be"Hilary DuffHilary Duff3:10
5."Life Is a Highway"Tom CochraneTom Cochrane4:26
6."These Are Days"10,000 Maniacs10,000 Maniacs3:39
7."Rockin' Robin"Leon RenéMichael Jackson2:33
8."Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"Johnny MarksBrenda Lee2:06
Total length:21:16

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


Critical receptionEdit

The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reports a 24% approval rating based on reviews from 119 critics and an average score of 4.58/10. The site's consensus reads: "In this family of twelve children, much chaos ensues, but little hilarity."[4] On Metacritic, which determines a normalized rating from mainstream critics, the film received a score of 46 out of 100 based on 30 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews."[5] On the positive side, the film was given "Two Thumbs Up" from Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper on their television show, with the former giving it three out of four stars.

Box officeEdit

The film opened on Christmas Day 2003, and ranked at #2 for the weekend, grossing $27,557,647 in its opening weekend ($35,397,241 including its Thursday Christmas Day gross of $7,839,594) from 3,298 theaters for an average of $8,356 per theater ($10,733 average per theater over four days), being kept from the top spot by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. The film went on to gross $138,614,544 in North America, and an additional $51,597,569 internationally, for a total gross of $190,212,113 worldwide, nearly five times its $40 million budget.[3] Ashton Kutcher was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor for his performance in this, Just Married and My Boss's Daughter but lost to Ben Affleck with Daredevil, Gigli and Paycheck.[6][7]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Association Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
Kid's Choice Awards Favorite Male Movie Star Ashton Kutcher Nominated
Teen Choice Awards Choice Movie: Blush Hilary Duff Nominated [8]
Choice Breakout Movie Star – Male Tom Welling Nominated
Choice Movie Liplock Piper Perabo & Ashton Kutcher Nominated
Young Artist Awards Best Young Ensemble Cast Cast (under 18) Won
Best Young Actor Age Ten or Younger Forrest Landis Won
Best Young Actress Age Ten or Younger Alyson Stoner Nominated
Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Actor Ashton Kutcher Nominated [6][7]

Home videoEdit

The film was released on VHS and DVD on April 6, 2004.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d "Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved January 19, 2020.
  2. ^ "Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)". BFI. Retrieved December 6, 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d "Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved March 16, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "Cheaper by the Dozen". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 18, 2019.
  5. ^ "Cheaper by the Dozen". Metacritic. Retrieved September 28, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Silverman, Stephen M. (January 26, 2004). "J.Lo Heads List of Razzie Nominees". People. Meredith Corporation. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  7. ^ a b Germain, David (March 1, 2004). "'Gigli' voted worst in Raspberry Awards". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Block Communications. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
  8. ^ "2003 Teen Choice Awards Nominees". Billboard. Valence Media. June 18, 2003. Retrieved May 20, 2015.

External linksEdit