Cheaper by the Dozen (2022); Grade: D-
Cheaper by the Dozen (2022) tells a story about one gigantic family known as the Bakers, helmed by father Paul Baker (Zach Braff) and mother Zoe Baker (Gabrielle Union). They currently have eleven children, however Paul and Zoe didn’t do all the work in terms of child birth and the typical bang bang shimmy. A kid was adopted, while other kids have other mothers and fathers in which Paul and Zoe were both divorced to a spouse as well. You can say having eleven kids to look after, take care of, and raise is a challenging task for the Bakers. However: Life is going to be even tougher for the the Bakers. Sure they won’t be struggling financially per say, but soon they will learn that having a lavish lifestyle of being rich, is so hard and you can only feel “sorry” for what this family is bound to go through, meanwhile there is homeless people living on the streets all across San Francisco.
I wouldn’t call the Cheaper by the Dozen films of 2003 and 2005 starring Steve Martin great films, however I do appreciate the memories I’ve had while experiencing them as a young kid. They were films that produced genuine laughs, quality entertainment, and even express the core value of family through the good times and most certainly the bad times in a simple fashion. You can even say those films at least delivered some kind of message in which children can take and can understand, not saying their deep thought revoking films but at least kids can learn a thing or two from them.
Of course when I heard there was a Cheaper by the Dozen reboot or remake whatever you want to call it… I tend to ask why? The whole purpose of this remake was to make it more diverse… But wouldn’t it be just better to create an original story instead of using a known property and reusing a recycled storyline that is outdated?! Honestly: There is not a single soul whom is celebrating a remake that includes a diverse Cheaper by the Dozen, quite honestly no one cares about the existence of this film in the first place. Disney would be celebrated if they helmed a Diversity Writers Program, in which could help produced more original films, that’ll give more under the radar writers a chance to make a name for themselves and get their stories told on the big screen. But instead Disney wants to take the whole, “Let’s act like we care about Diversity, by being lazy slobs and remaking known properties”…. I will continue calling out this soulless industry, because I’m sick and tired of laziness done in cinema.
Anyhow: What did I expect from Cheaper by the Dozen (2022)?!
There are two main issues within this remake. One being: Forced political commentary. With the Black Lives Matter poster shown outside the home, to the family’s dogs named BarBark Obama and Joe Biten… You knew you were heading into a territory in which this film, will sprinkle a certain agenda they follow. Whether we agree to disagree on views and such: If it has no purpose in the story, I’m going to have an issue with it because holy crap every single moment was forced.
Especially when Zoe Baker tried to accused the security guard of being racist, because he expressed there is a rule to be followed in the community that no loud noises after 10 P.M. What Zoe Baker fails to understand through her ignorance, is the fact she doesn’t have a typical family of two, if that were the case as the audience we would question the guard as well. But the thing is: She has a family of eleven freaking children, majority of them are aged from high school and under. So no Zoe the security guard addressing this policy had nothing to do with your race at all, it had everything to do with your one gigantic family that has as many people to start up a typical high school kick back. There are TONS of moments like this as none of them felt natural or served some kind of moral purpose in the story being told in this film, which is quite confusing since this is a kids film by the way.
Another main issue: Half assed ideas that are never developed. Of course in a film like Cheaper by the Dozen, you’re going to have a struggling time to get to everyone and develop everyone, so you got to make it count and execute it properly within each and every side plot.
Deja (Journee Brown) has two dilemmas that are not developed properly, from slowly no longer being interested in the game of basketball to even being in a relationship with this one guy in school. We understand Deja is now riding the bench, but there is not enough to where the audience can feel why her once beloved passion for the game is slowly becoming to be no longer interested in playing. The relationship aspect is the biggest problem: There is no indication of how the relationship started or how this dude made his way to impress Deja enough to go out with him.
Haresh (Aryan Simhadri) and Seth (Luke Prael) are both pretty weak characters. Haresh whole “I want to be a Player” aspect is introduced as an idea, but is never giving the audience indication of how is trying to be a player. Is the whole idea of being a player listening to The Weeknd and owning white Nike shoes?! Why was this idea even being introduced if there is nothing there?! Not only does Haresh has any idea how he’s going to become a player, but the FILM doesn’t even know how Haresh is going to be a player, so why even introduced this idea in the first place if NOTHING comes out of it?!
The character Seth is extremely poorly developed as this kid, whom had to be moved over to the Bakers because his mother is in rehab for a drug addiction. Every scene with Seth is extremely awkward, has though he does at least try to give Haresh advice to stand up to bullies though we never see how he gave him the advice, but still the actor playing this role looks lost and so as the audience look lost while watching this character.
The only character they got it right with development is DJ (Andre Robinson). His whole dilemma is him talking to this girl he likes, as he has trouble in getting out of his comfort zone. I felt it almost gotten it right because his step father Paul at least gives him advice early on, which he then uses it in the end. I think my only issue with the character development is how DJ got over the hump, where he desperately needed advice to climb himself over the small hole he was in, as he was stressing out a bit. But I feel it can be excused because DJ had been given good enough advice from Paul, where he needed to stop being scared and become a man and go talk to her… FINALLY, one character that works!
With Cheaper by the Dozen films 2003 and 2005, it never felt over crowded as it didn’t feel like there were too many characters. With this film… Yeah it’s over crowded a bit. Some of the children had no significance to the story, as I completely forgotten about half of them. I also think the step parents ordeal with Kate (Erika Christensen) and Dom (Timon Kyle Durrett) didn’t work out at all. Kate was extremely annoying in every scene she was in, while Dom was a bit over barring and extremely obnoxious in his scenes as well, which helped with the problem this film had with feeling over crowded. Not to mention the supporting characters whether it be those whom lived in the same community as the Bakers or the business associates of Paul’s sauce and restaurant… Good God those characters were TERRIBLE.
This film felt like a disaster in the comedy ordeal and of course producing heartfelt dramatic moments. You know your comedy material is bad, when the dramatic moments are even funnier than the comedy itself. One comedic moment that ticked me off was Paul Baker gearing up for an interview, yet because he saw everyone wearing different outfits, he decided to quickly change his entire outfit. The scene is extremely embarrassing in terms of comedy, but it’s frustrating because who gives a damn what everyone else is wearing?! It’s better to over dress than under dress, I’m sure these business investors could care less what you wear, just deliver a business plan that they’ll be persuaded to buy… It’s such a frustrating completely idiotic scene and it made me so angry.
Nothing much more I could say about this film, we all knew it was bound to be another disaster on Disney’s hands, as it’ll do nothing but piss people off rightfully so.
Overall, Cheaper by the Dozen (2022) is an AWFUL film. I don’t recommend this film, go find God Disney… Go find God. -Mitch Smietana