Cheaper by the Dozen (2003 film)

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Cheaper by the Dozen
Cheaper by the Dozen 2003 film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Shawn Levy
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story by Craig Titley
Based on Cheaper by the Dozen
by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr.
Ernestine Gilbreth Carey
Narrated by Bonnie Hunt
Music by Christophe Beck
Cinematography Jonathan Brown
Edited by George Folsey, Jr.
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • December 25, 2003 (2003-12-25) (United States)
Running time
98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million
Box office $190.2 million[1]

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 to negative reviews, but was a box-office success, ultimately grossing just over $190 million worldwide.[1]


Tom Baker is a football coach at Lincoln College, a small rural college near Midland City, Illinois. He met his future wife, Kate at Illinois Poly Tech, and together, they gave birth to 12 children (Nora, Charlie, Lorraine, Henry, Sarah, Jake, Mark, fraternal twins Jessica and Kim, Mike, and identical twins Kyle and Nigel). In her narration, Kate has written her story into a book and hopes to send it to her friend to publish the book. Meanwhile, 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, and he and Kate begin making plans on returning to Evanston. The kids find out and demand the move be put to a vote, even though Tom says it would not have any power. He loses the vote, even after he and Kate decide to join, but goes ahead with the move anyway, claiming there will be more money and that they will be a "happier and stronger family". The atmosphere at the Bakers' new house is tense and the situation at school is even worse.

Later, the Bakers meet their next-door neighbors, the Shenk family--which consists of Bill, Tina, and their son, Dylan. After a series of mishaps, Dylan invites the younger kids to his birthday party. Shortly afterwards, Kate tells Tom that she is leaving on her book tour now that her book is ready for publication, leaving Tom to take charge of the kids. Tom decides to hire the family's oldest child, Nora, and her self-absorbed boyfriend, Hank, to help him with the other children. The younger children soak Hank's boxers in meat, and unleash the family dog, Gunner, on him. After Nora storms out with Hank, Tom scolds the younger children for their prank.

Kate departs for her book tour and Tom realizes that he cannot handle the children on his own after a chaotic night. In reply to this revelation, Tom tries to hire a housekeeper or nanny, but nobody is willing to work with a family as large as the Bakers. The children start causing trouble at school, so Tom decides to bring the football players he coaches into the family's house for game practice while the children perform chores and their household games. When things get completely out of control, Tom grounds the children from attending Dylan's birthday party. While Tom's back is turned, the children sneak out to attend the party anyway.

At Dylan's party, Jake tells Mike to go get the football they got for Dylan so they can play with it. When he does, he knocks some of the presents over, and the Brazilian mud viper they also got for him escapes. The resulting panic causes Tom to realize the kids had disappeared, and he orders his players to round the kids up. Tom tries to remove Sarah from the bounce house, but during the chaos, a helium tank falls on the bounce house, causing it to overinflate, then explode, sending Tom and several kids flying through the air. While the football players successfully catch Sarah and the other kids, Tom accidentally lands on top of Dylan, breaking his arm and he is taken to the hospital.

Kate overhears 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 becomes upset that his pet frog has died, a heated fight erupts moments before the segment starts, leading the cameramen to tell Winfrey to cancel it. Mark runs away from home, prompting the Bakers to find him. During the search, Tom indulges a hunch from Nora that Mark is trying to run back to the Bakers' old home, and eventually finds Mark on an Amtrak train departing from Evanston to Midland. Reuniting with the rest of their family, the Bakers begin to address their issues with each other. Tom ultimately steps down from his position at his alma mater with Shake. The film ends when Kate narrates that family become stronger and closer together.


The parents[edit]

The children[edit]


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


A sequel, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, was released in the United States on December 21, 2005.


"Cheaper by the Dozen" Soundtrack
No.TitleWriter(s)Performed byLength
1."I'm Just a Kid"Simple PlanSimple Plan1:24
2."Help!"Lennon–McCartneyThe Beatles1:12
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

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


Critical reception[edit]

The review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 24% approval rating based on reviews from 118 critics, with an average score of 4.5 out of 10, and the site's consensus reading: "In this family of twelve children, much chaos ensues, but little hilarity."[2] 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."[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 kept from the top spot by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, went on to gross $190,212,113 worldwide.[1] Ashton Kutcher was nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor for his performance in this, Just Married, and My Boss’s Daughter.[citation needed]

Awards and nominations[edit]

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
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

Home media[edit]

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


  1. ^ a b c "Cheaper by the Dozen (2003)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-03-16.
  2. ^ "Cheaper by the Dozen". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2014-03-16.
  3. ^ "Cheaper by the Dozen". Metacritic. Retrieved 28 September 2017.

External links[edit]