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  • Acceptable Lifestyle Targets: The childless. The revelation that Nora's boyfriend does not want children of his own is treated as a Moral Event Horizon. See under Designated Villain.
    • And as noted under Designated Villain, his actual intended Moral Event Horizon is not that he doesn't want children in the future, it's that he doesn't even care enough about the children that are alive now to help search for a missing one.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: In the sequel, Tom comes to his son's aid when he's harassed by some jerkass teenagers by speaking fluent Jive Turkey at them and leaving them dumbfounded.
  • Designated Villain/ Informed Wrongness: Nora's boyfriend. He isn't fond of children, and appears to be quite awkward around them. This of course makes him a bad person, and we're supposed to find it funny when the kids play pranks on him that could seriously hurt him (setting him on fire, making him trip face first into a paddling pool, etc). Even the parents don't seem to treat it as seriously as they should, it's no wonder he's not fond of the kids if they act like little brats to him.
    • He isn't treated as a bad guy for that by the parents of his fiance, they both are mad at the kids for it. She only leaves him when he refuses to go look for Mark, who at that point in the film had ran away, just to watch his own commerical. Even with the way the kids treated him that's still wrong not to go look for your girlfriend's younger brother.
  • Mary Sue: Lorraine, possibly. She is the exact opposite of her younger sister Sarah.
  • Tearjerker: The father's death in the first novel and the treatment of Mark in the new film, as well as the death of the frog that no one really cares about.
  • Values Dissonance: When the mother leaves the children with their father for the duration of a short work-related trip, everything goes to hell due to the father's inability to take care of his family. The ending has her realize her mistake and promise never to leave the children again. This is a bit jarring to viewers from cultures where women are expected to work and fathers are expected to participate in childcare. (It's also the exact opposite of the original book, where much of the entertainment value came from the father's many unique and amazing methods of organizing the family's life to make it run smoother. Which worked. Of course, him being a workplace management researcher and everything.)
  • The Woobie: Mark of the 2003 film is portrayed this way.

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