Cheaper by the Dozen (2003 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Cheaper by the Dozen
Cheaper by the Dozen 2003 film poster.jpg
Promotional poster
Directed by Shawn Levy
Produced by Robert Simonds
Michael Barnathan
Ben Myron
Screenplay by Sam Harper
Joel Cohen
Alec Sokolow
Story by Craig Titley
Based on Cheaper by the Dozen 
by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr.
Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
Narrated by Bonnie Hunt
Starring Steve Martin
Bonnie Hunt
Music by Christophe Beck
Cinematography Jonathan Brown
Editing by George Folsey, Jr.
Studio Robert Simonds Productions
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • December 25, 2003 (2003-12-25)
Running time 98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million
Box office $190,212,113 [1]

Cheaper by the Dozen is a 2003 American family comedy film about a family with twelve children. The film takes its title from the biography of the same name by Frank Bunker Gilbreth and Lillian Moller Gilbreth, but despite the title and the concept of a family with twelve children, the film bears no resemblance to the book nor its original film adaption, although it is mentioned that the mother's maiden name is Gilbreth. The film was directed by Shawn Levy, produced by Robert Simonds, narrated by Bonnie Hunt, and starring Steve Martin. The film was released on December 25, 2003 by 20th Century Fox, ultimately grossing just over $190 million worldwide.[1]


Kate Gilbreth Baker (Bonnie Hunt) narrates her story about her large family: her husband, Tom (Steve Martin), is a football coach at a small rural college in Midland, Indiana, where he raised twelve children. Kate has written her story in a book and hopes to send it to her friend to publish the book. Life at the Midland house is almost perfect for the Bakers until Tom unexpectedly receives an offer from his old friend and football teammate, Shake McGuire (Richard Jenkins), to coach at his alma mater in his hometown of Evanston, Illinois. Since Tom was raised in Evanston and the football team he accepts the offer, which disappoints nearly all the children. Tom demands all the children to vote on moving, but despite losing it, he has the entire family to return to Evanston for a better home and space. The family's second child, Charlie (Tom Welling), refuses to leave his girlfriend, Beth (Tiffany Dupont), and the others simply don't want to leave their friends and home. Despite being given a fancy white mansion as a home by Shake for their move, the atmosphere at the Bakers' new house, which is absolutely huge, is tense and the situation at school is even worse. In general, the younger children are harassed at school. Charlie is taunted for being a country boy, while the family's sixth and seventh children, Jake and Mark (Jacob Smith and Forrest Landis), are consistently antagonized by a bully named Quinn (Cody Linley), the twins of the bunch Kyle and Nigel (Brent and Shane Kinsman), begin to cause trouble at school and the Bakers' new neighbors, Tina and Bill Shenk (Paula Marshall and Alan Ruck), are very over-protective of their son and only child, Dylan (Steven Anthony Lawrence), and do not want him to play with the younger kids. Dylan visits the Bakers when he gets into a game of hockey with his friends indoors, which leads to Dylan and Tom hanging on the chandelier and breaks off and smashes on the floor below.

When her book is ready to pick up for publication, Kate is required to do a national book tour to promote it and will not be back home until the book tour is completed. Tom thinks that he can handle everything in the family's household while Kate is away, so he decides to hire the family's oldest child, Nora (Piper Perabo), and her self-absorbed teenage boyfriend, Hank (Ashton Kutcher), to manage the younger children. However, Hank is reluctant since the younger children have attacked him earlier by setting his pants on fire, but he agrees after falling under Nora's begs. When Nora and Hank arrive, the younger children plan to make Hank the target of their latest antagonistic prank by soaking his underwear in meat and letting the family's pet dog, Gunner, attack Hank by chewing his bottom, prompting him to refuse to assist in baby-sitting. As a result, Nora is angry at the younger children and drives off with Hank, while Tom berates them for their prank and cuts off their allowance within a month.

After Kate departs for her book tour, Tom realizes that he cannot handle the younger children on his own after a chaotic night where the house becomes a rampaging stampede during the chores they perform. In reply to this revelation, Tom tries to hire a housekeeper, but nobody is willing to work with a family as large as the Bakers, so Tom decides to bring all of the football players from work into the family's house for game practicing in the living room in order to prepare for the Saturday night football game as the younger children perform chores and their household games. However, the younger children start causing trouble at school when Kyle and Nigel hurt their kindergarten teacher and the others burst in fury and stand up against the bullies by fighting them. When Tom gets complaints about those incidents, he grounds the younger children from any fun and games and forbids them from going to Dylan's birthday party, despite the fact that they already have presents for him. Without Tom noticing them, the younger children suddenly sneak out of the house and head to the party to start chaos. While Tom is teaching the football players how to win and participate for the Saturday night football game, they notice the guests running out of Dylan's house as one of the children's gifts inside was a snake scaring them away. Tom and the football players decide to investigate the chaos. After the football players successfully capture all the younger children, Tom tries to capture the family's fifth child, Sarah (Alyson Stoner), in the bounce house, but during the mess, a helium tank suddenly jams the air in the bounce house, causing it to inflate and explode. Tom accidentally falls on Dylan, in which he ends up in the hospital. Tina forbids the kids from playing with Dylan, while Shake warns Tom not to bring all the football players to his house or the kids to the department anymore, causing Tom to cancel the entire Saturday night football game.

Meanwhile, Kate hears from the younger 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. Despite much coaching from Kate, and Kate being furious at Tom for not telling her that he could not handle it, the Bakers aren't able to demonstrate the loving, strongly bonded family that Kate described in her book. When Mark becomes upset that his pet frog, Beans, has died, in which Sarah rudely tells him that nobody cares, a heated fight erupts before the segment starts, leading the cameramen to call Winfrey to cancel it. As a result of the fight, Mark feels unwanted and runs away from home, prompting the Bakers to hold their search party to find him. Meanwhile, Nora dumps Hank when he is more focused with watching himself on television instead of searching for Mark. The Bakers call the police, their close friends, and Dylan to join in the search for Mark. However, the Bakers cannot find Mark until Tom indulges a hunch that Mark is attempting to run back to the Bakers' old home, and eventually finds Mark on an Amtrak train departing from Chicago to Midland. Reuniting with the rest of their family, the Bakers realize that they have not been a close family and they begin to address their issues with each other. Tom ultimately resigns from his position at his alma mater with Shake and finally settles for a less time-consuming job. The film ends when Kate narrates that the Bakers are closer as a result of their experiences and Tom's decision to love his family more than his job. When Christmas arrives, the Bakers have a massive dinner when the new chandelier in the lobby snaps off and crashes once again.

Cast and characters[edit]

The Bakers[edit]

  • Steve Martin as Tom Baker, patriarch of the Baker family and the main protagonist of the film. Tom sacrificed his dream of coaching at a big school to fulfill his dream of raising a large family. He eventually gets his dream job of coaching, but eventually resigns after realizing he is missing out on his younger children's lives.
  • Bonnie Hunt as Kate Gilbreth-Baker, matriarch of the Baker family and the narrator of the film. The loss of a sister in childhood inspired Kate to have a large family. She sacrificed a dream of being a sports journalist to become a stay-at-home mom. She later quickly becomes used to the lifestyle of a professional author, but ultimately misses her family and abandons her new career after publishing her book, which becomes a best seller.
  • Piper Perabo as Nora Baker, 22 years old, the oldest Baker child. Nora lives on her own with her boyfriend, Hank. Nora hates the fact that her younger siblings interfere with her personal life with Hank, as they always pull pranks on him because they see him as a jerk. She later realizes they were right about him when he doesn't seem to care about Mark after he runs away.
  • Tom Welling as Charlie Baker, 17 years old, the second Baker child. The move to Evanston is especially taxing on Charlie, as it means leaving his girlfriend, Beth.
  • Hilary Duff as Lorraine Baker, 16 years old, the third Baker child. Lorraine loves glamour and aspires to be a "fashion guru" and hates getting Nora's hand-me-downs. She is closest to Sarah, her polar opposite, though they argue frequently.
  • Kevin Schmidt as Henry Baker, 12 years old, the fourth Baker child. Henry looks up to Charlie more than anyone else in the family. He prefers to play the clarinet and is the most musical member of the family.
  • Alyson Stoner as Sarah Baker, 11 years old, the fifth Baker child. Sarah describes herself as a master prankster, but her pranks sometimes get out of control. She is tomboyish and enjoys vigorous team sports.
  • Jacob Smith as Jake Baker, 10 years old, the sixth Baker child. Jake enjoys skateboarding and is closest to Sarah and Mike.
  • Forrest Landis as Mark Baker, 9 years old, the seventh Baker child. Mark is often teased by his siblings because he feels he doesn't fit in with his family. He has an affinity for animals, most notably a pet frog named Beans, who is Mark's constant companion and only confidante. His attempted escapade back to the family's old home in Midland is what inspires the family to become closer.
  • Liliana Mumy and Morgan York as Jessica and Kim Baker, 8 years old and fraternal twin girls. Jessica and Kim are the eighth and ninth Baker children. They are the smartest in the family, although their intellect goes largely unnoticed. They are frequently involved in Sarah's pranks and are closest to each other.
  • Blake Woodruff as Mike Baker, 6 years old, the tenth Baker child. Mike was conceived due to a night of drinking for his parents. He is closest to brother Jake, and spends most of his time with the older children. He enjoys skateboarding, hockey, and performing potentially dangerous physical stunts, such as hanging down the laundry shoot.
  • Brent and Shane Kinsman as Kyle and Nigel Baker, 5 years old, identical twin boys and the youngest Baker children. Kyle and Nigel look up to all of their older siblings, and enjoy frequently taking part in Sarah's pranks.


  • Steven Anthony Lawrence as Dylan Shenk. Dylan is friendly towards the Bakers and wonders why he did not have siblings. He got injured by Tom after the younger Baker children suddenly snuck out of the house and crashed his birthday party while they were being grounded from any fun and games.
  • Paula Marshall as Tina Shenk, Dylan's over-protective mother who is generally hostile towards the Bakers. She appears to believe that the Bakers have too many children.
  • Alan Ruck as Bill Shenk, Dylan's father who is far kinder than Tina and actually likes the Bakers. In a few scenes in the movie, Bill makes subtle hints that he wanted more children, unlike Tina who wanted "one perfect child".
  • Richard Jenkins as Shake McGuire, Tom's old friend and football teammate who is now the director of the football program at the university. Shake was the one who offered the coaching job to Tom, prompting the Bakers move to Evanston for a better home and space.
  • Ashton Kutcher as Hank, Nora's self-absorbed boyfriend. The Baker kids hated him because of his attitude. They set his pants on fire on his first visit. When Hank visits again, they soak his underwear in meat, which attracts Gunner and the other dogs. When Mark is missing, Nora decides to dump Hank since he is more focused on seeing himself on television.
  • Tiffany Dupont as Beth, Charlie's girlfriend.
  • Cody Linley as Quinn, a school bully who picks on Mark and the other younger children until he is suspended from school for the fight against Mark and the other younger children.
  • Jared Padalecki as an unnamed bully who picks on Charlie for being the new kid in town and a "hick".
  • Dax Shepard as a member of the camera crew.
  • Regis Philbin as himself.
  • Kelly Ripa as herself.
  • Frank Welker as Gunner (voice), the Bakers' pet dog.


A sequel, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, was released in the United States on December 21, 2005. It did not feature most of the supporting cast listed above.


"Cheaper by the Dozen" Soundtrack
No. Title Length
1. "I'm Just a Kid"   1:24
2. "Help!"   1:12
3. "In Too Deep"   2:46
4. "What Christmas Should Be"   3:10
5. "Life Is a Highway"    
6. "These Are Days"    
7. "Rockin' Robin"    
8. "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree"    

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


Awards and nominations[edit]

Cheaper by the Dozen has been nominated and won several awards. The following is a list of these:

Result Type of award Category Year
Nominated Teen Choice Award Choice movie blush (Hilary Duff), Choice breakout movie star (male) (Tom Welling), Choice movie liplock 2004[2]
Won Young artist award Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated Best performance in feature film (Alyson Stoner and Forrest Landis)

Critical reception[edit]

The film received generally negative reviews from film critics, with 23% of critics giving a positive review and an average score of 4.6 out of 10 according Rotten Tomatoes, based on 112 reviews.[3] Despite initial reactions, the film was given "Two Thumbs Up" from Roger Ebert and Richard Roeper on their television show, and became a box office hit. The film opened at #2 ranking in US$27,557,647 in its first opening weekend and, despite being knocked off the top spot the following week by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, went on to gross $190,212,113 worldwide.[1] Kutcher was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor for his performance in this, and two other films.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  2. ^ "Awards won". IMDB. Retrieved 2007-05-12. 
  3. ^ "Cheaper by the Dozen". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 
  4. ^ "2003 RAZZIE Nominees & "Winners" - The Official RAZZIE Forum - Page 1". 2011-11-13. Retrieved 2014-03-16. 

External links[edit]