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Cheaper by the Dozen

This feel-good holiday comedy, based on the book by Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, gives you a glimpse into the chaotic life of The Bakers. The Bakers are a big family. I mean, a really big family consisting of five sisters and seven brothers. Their dad, Tom (Steve Martin, far away from his days on SNL), and mom, Kate (Bonnie Hunt, who in no way looks like a woman who has popped out twelve kids), move the family, much to the ire of their kids, from rural Illinois to the outskirts of the city after Tom lands his dream job coaching the football team of his old university. Soon thereafter Kate also realizes her own dream when her novel is published to much acclaim. How this woman has the time to take care of twelve kids sans any nannies and write a book is a mystery- but that's a whole other story. When she gets swept away to do a book tour and leaves an already overworked Tom to take care of the family, their well-oiled household begins to fall apart.

There's a lot of physical comedy involved and two scenes- one involving a pair of underwear soaked in meat and a very hungry dog and another in which a birthday party turns messy after a poisonous animal is accidentally let loose- will having you laughing out loud. The ensemble cast has a wonderful chemistry and director Shawn Levy manages to balance the many side-stories without making the film feeling over-stuffed or the plot too thin. Although many parallels could be drawn to The Brady Bunch, this movie tends to take the edge off the saccharine, trite moments by infusing them with a bit of comedy. But, nevertheless, this is a Hollywood holiday movie so there are enough cheesy moments to leave your stocking filled to the brim.

This is a great family movie in that both adults and kids can enjoy it. It's also a good flick to pick while you're at home for the holidays bored out your mind and need to find a wholesome activity that you can all partake in without having to actually talk to one another.