April 1, 2006 -- “Cheaper by the Dozen 2” is one of the reasons that movie viewership dropped off in 2005. It is bad enough to remake a mediocre 1950 movie. It is even worse to make a sequel to the resulting mediocre remake. The result of this whole process is, predictably, mediocre. Despite a talented cast that includes Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt and Eugene Levy, this film is pretty lame. Somebody behind me in the theater actually laughed a few times, but he may have been drinking.
The story picks up a couple of years after the story in the first movie. The kids are growing up and some are leaving home. One of the Baker daughters, Nora Baker-McNulty (played by Piper Perabo of “Coyote Ugly”) has married and is very pregnant. Another daughter, Lorraine Baker (Hilary Duff) is heading off to an internship in New York. A son, Charlie Baker (Tom Welling of the “Smallville” TV series) wants to move away and start his own business. The Baker parents, Tom and Kate (Martin and Hunt) decide to have one last vacation at the family's favorite getaway at a lake while the family is still together.
Naturally, the vacation turns into a disaster as Tom's old rival, Jimmy Murtaugh (Levy) is living at the lake. He is constantly goading Tom into games of one-upsmanship. The rest of the very large Murtaugh and Baker family members are not anxious to join the rivalry, however. Sarah Baker (Alyson Stoner) is romantically interested in Eliot Murtaugh (Taylor Lautner) and Charlie Baker becomes romantically involved with the beautiful Anne Murtaugh (Jamie King). Kate Baker strikes up a friendship with Jimmy Murtaugh's trophy wife Sarina (Carmen Electra of “Starsky & Hutch”). Nevertheless, Tom and Jimmy goad each other into a contest which pits them and their families against each other.
The competition between the two families never really is very believable. Part of the conflict hinges on the parenting styles of the Bakers and the Murtaughs. The Bakers are lax and the Murtaughs are strict. The ending of the film is predictably sappy. The whole plot is thin and forgettable. Fortunately, this film did not make a lot of money in the United States. Maybe we will get lucky and there will be no third installment of this limp franchise. This film rates a C.
For trivia fans, Liliana Mumy, who plays Jessica Baker in the film is, indeed, the daughter of well-known actor Bill Mumy, who starred as a child in the original “Lost in Space” TV series. He later went on to star in the classic “Babylon 5” science fiction TV series and even appeared in an episode of the “Star Trek: Deep Space 9” TV series. He also appeared in the film “Papillon.”
Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.