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Film: Cheaper by the Dozen
"Sarah, your suspension from lacrosse for excessive force has been lifted, so you're going today... Henry, you have band practice, all right? I cleaned your clarinet. Please don't play with your food in your mouth again. Kim and Jessica, your teacher called and has made a request that you do not correct her in front of the class. Mike, you have show-and-tell today. And please, honey, remember that body parts do not count. Kyle and Nigel, you have a dentist appointment at 3:00, so you're going to work with Dad."
— Kate Baker (bear in mind this covers barely half the kids)

2003 film starring Steve Martin about him, his wife and their twelve kids. Count 'em, twelve.

Very Loosely Based on a True Story, in that there was a book & Film of the Book in The Fifties also called Cheaper By The Dozen which had a family with twelve kids in it. The original book is set in the 1920s and was written by Frank Gilbreth Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey. That's the only similarity. The Gilbreth children were: Anne, Mary (1906-1912), Ernestine, Martha, Frank Jr., William, Lillian, Frederick, Daniel, John, Robert and Jane. The authors wrote a sequel called Belles on Their Toes which follows the family after Frank Gilbreth, Sr's death. Mrs. Lillian Gilbreth (the mother) served as an adviser to five American presidents (Hoover, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy & Johnson); she and her husband are part of a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution. As of July 2010, Frederick is the last surviving sibling of the original twelve.

Plotwise, the family packs up and moves an unspecified distance from a small town into the suburbs of Chicago so the Dad can pick up his dream job coaching his old college football team. The kids are variously disappointed by this, but go along with it anyway because, well, they're not exactly given a choice.

Having left everything they ever knew behind, the family gets another shock - Mom's gonna get her book published! Mom goes on a book tour, leaving the family in her husband's hands for a few days. Hilarity Ensues as total chaos erupts. One kid runs away, the family chases him down (leading to a nice You Are Not Alone moment), Dad realizes what his job has done to his kids and both he and his wife resolve to put family first as the two continue to pursue their careers while living in the new home, their family stronger than ever.

A generally inoffensive family comedy.

A sequel was released, running with basically the same premise but a different plot, which performed much poorer at the box office.

Plays straight pretty much every trope listed under Family Tropes, Sibling Tropes and The Parent Trope.


Provides examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: "You soaked his underpants in meat. That was wrong. Funny! But wrong."
  • Book Ends: The film starts with the mom listing negative or neutral things the family associates with the number twelve ,and the film ends with her listing positive things the family associates with number twelve.
  • Child Hater. The eldest child's boyfriend/fiancée is portrayed as this.
  • Child Prodigy: Kim and Jessica are very brainy for their age. It doesn't get a lot of attention, though.
  • Dawson Casting: The character of Charlie Baker was supposed to be in high school (most likely a junior or senior), but the actor who played him, Tom Welling, was 26 when the film was shot and looked like it.
  • Food and Animal Attraction: The kids prank the eldest sister's boyfriend by dipping his underclothes in meat and setting the family dog on him.
  • In Name Only: The only similarity it has with the book is that there are twelve kids.
  • Jerk Ass: The guy who picks on Charlie because he thinks hes a yokel and the mother of a neighborhood kid who has nothing but contempt for the Bakers.
  • Lots of Luggage: In the second film, Lorraine fitting this trope is a running gag. Sarah her sister comments on a huge suitcase "This one just for the make-up?"
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: the entire premise.
  • Meaningful Echo: This is how Steve Martin's character finds out where his missing son went. Shortly after moving to Chicago, the son draws him a picture of their old house, which was his "Favorite place in the world" After said son runs away, the police tell Martin that they searched train and bus stations. He claims that his son wouldn't take a train or a bus. His older daughter then says that she always wanted to run away to Chicago, which was her "Favorite place in the world". This makes him realize exactly where he ran away to.
  • Nautical Knockout: This happens to the father.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The trailer portrays this as a nice, comedic family film. While it has its great moments for sure, the film gradually gets more serious as it goes on as Mom's book tour drags on ad Tom is forced to cope with temporarily being a single dad.
  • Single-Minded Twins: Both pairs of twins act quite similar to each other. It's more noticeable with Kyle and Nigel, since they're identical.
  • Tomboy: Sarah.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Charlie delivers one to his dad near the climax of the first film.
  • The Three Certainties in Life: Hank notes, "All I'm saying is families are inevitable; they're like death or taxes."
  • The Unfavorite: Mark is treated like this by his siblings, being called Fedex.

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