Cheaper by the Dozen Recap

Jamie

BMT is truly a wonder. Just when you think it can’t get any better (seriously, how could it get better? It’s basically perfect), we go ahead and implement a BMT Book Club cycle to get us all jazzed up. It has been a joy to read these books and watch these films. In some cases it’s unnecessary (Fifty Shades of Grey is basically a straight-up adaptation, so you don’t really have to read the book), but in cases like Cheaper by the Dozen it takes what would have been a mediocre/forgettable BMT film and transmorphs it into a BMT extravaganza of insights.

And seriously, the adaptation of this truly wonderful book was a T-R-A-V-E-S-T-Y. There is no acceptable explanation for why this film turned out this way. They shit on the source material. Ripped all the interesting stuff out of a really interesting book and replaced it with cliches and garbage. It should really have been like what Patrick will explain: dad runs family like his occupation (football coach is actually a really good choice). Don’t make him a bumbling fool and make the family fall apart. Who wants to watch that? Wouldn’t you rather have the family use their unique skills to overcome the problems that face them (perhaps with a bunch of hilarious montages where their use their football knowledge to approach aspects of their lives?). Come on! So dumb. And to think! Without the book we would have had no idea that this was a pile of shit compared to what it was a remake of. Really makes me not want to watch the second one (which is supposed to be considerably worse). And with that I don’t really have much more to say about Cheaper by the Dozen.

I’ll let Patrick explain more though.

Patrick

‘Ello everyone. Cheaper by the Dozen? More like just Cheaper than the Original. This entire round of adaptations has been super interesting, but this one might be the most interesting. The Cheaper by the Dozen book (non-fiction, written in 1949 about events occurring around 1929) is probably the best of the source materials we’ve encountered thus far. The original movie is a super faithful adaptation (all the way down to the depressing end). The actual real life story is crazy cool (the mother was the first practicing female industrial engineer with a PhD, was inducted into the national academy of science, and is considered a pioneer of ergonomics). So … why? Why did they adapt it this way?

  • A few things it has going for it: Steve Martin is great. Bonnie Hunt is great. Most of the kids are fine. Even the older kids (limited in screen time) are fine. So what’s the problem?
  • While I was impressed with the movie’s ability to make the kids individuals and somewhat memorable (two twin boys are youngest, then another young boy, misfit kid, two fraternal twin girls, sporty girl, skateboard kid, chunky kid, Hillary Duff, Superman, Covert Affairs …. that’s in ascending order by age, or close to it), none of them have any kind of interesting story. Hillary Duff is upset about wearing hand me downs (resolved in the first half hour). Superman is kicked off the football team (NOT RESOLVED, what the fuck?). Misfit kid is sad (resolved with swelling music and Patrick tears at the end). Covert Affairs breaks up with Ashton Kutcher twice! (NOT RESOLVED, and he’s back in the sequel? EDITORS NOTE: He is not). Even the parents stories are half-baked.
  • And the entire tone is just off. In the original the family operates like a machine. The father is an industrial engineer specializing in efficiency and runs his family accordingly. Most of the humor (and drama) come from how people react to this unconventional family. Here: chaos. Chaos everywhere. Literally the worst parents. Literally begging the question: Why do you have 12 kids?! You cannot manage them! I know you have to go a little slapstick, but it ends up as a slap in the face (heyoooo) of the original.
  • I’ll leave it there. The music was obnoxious. Which means watch out Jamie: you might be getting this soundtrack as a gift.
  • Let’s Airbud this! Cheaper by the Tolstoy. Tolstoy has a litter of puppies, a dozen of them, and oh my are they a handful. With severe separation anxiety and leash aggression abound what will Patrick do with them?! Work through it of course, with love and laughter (and a little underbite). Cheaper by the Tolstoy … hot diggity dog! (That’s the terrible tagline). Also, perhaps, called Beethoven’s … Twelfth I guess? Although he only had 9 complete symphonies …

I think it is time for a Remake! Here’s the thing. Part of the charm of the original movie is just how capable the parents are. They joke around, and things go awry, but they rarely descend into chaos. The newer movie was chaos wall to wall. So here’s the change: The father is a coach, and runs his family like a football team. When he blows his whistle everyone falls in line. The drama of the story is more about people not believing in him because twelve kids just seems like too many today. They pull through because they are a team. Like in the first movie a lot of drama can also come from the kids getting bullied because of the oddity of their family. NETFLIX!!!! This is a live one, we need to hit this while the iron is hot. Also, all of the Netflix executives who read this week to week, hear me out. Bedknobs and Broomsticks Netflix original series. Just a thought.

Cheerios,

The Sklogs

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