Cheaper by the Dozen (2022) Parent Guide
This determinedly sunshiny film has some unexpected innuendo but plenty of positive messages about kindness, inclusion, and family togetherness.
Parent Movie Review
Paul Baker (Zach Braff) is the breakfast king of L.A. His all-day breakfast restaurant is enduringly popular and his savory sweet hot sauce is taking the country by storm. With his newfound success, Paul can finally buy a house big enough for his family and make all their dreams come true.
Paul is going to need a very large home for his brood. Along with his wife, Zoe (Gabrielle Union), they have a blended family of nine children – and when his sister goes into rehab, they add her son (Luke Prael) to the mix. With Paul’s hippy-dippy ex-wife, Kate (Erika Christensen), providing hapless childcare and Zoe’s pro athlete ex, Dom (Timon Kyle Durrett), appearing periodically to dispense gifts and glamor, the Baker family is a big, complicated clan with lots of chaos and even more love. Solid families have problems, too, and Paul is about to learn that trying to make everyone happy can be more complicated than he thought…
Cheaper by the Dozen is a remake of a remake (2003) of an original (1950). As American families have grown smaller, the idea of a large household seems to remain enduringly popular. This particular iteration of the Bakers is largely positive – the teenagers are remarkably helpful and cooperative, the two sets of twins provide cutesy comedy, and the kids are more likely to cooperate in mischief than scream at each other. (In fact, the lack of sibling squabbles may be the least realistic part of the movie.)
The Baker family is also a celebration of diversity, and this is one of the major themes of the film. Paul is white (and Jewish) and his second daughter (Caylee Blosenski) is disabled and uses a wheelchair. Zoe is Black as are her children. Their adopted son, Haresh (Aryan Simhadri), is south Asian, and their shared children are biracial. Race is never an issue at home, but it crops up in school bullying and in sly insults directed to Zoe at the pool of their new gated community. The film raises issues of white privilege – Paul acknowledges that he doesn’t know what it feels like to be frightened when he’s pulled over by the cops or to feel unwelcome in a “white” space. There is no attempt to belittle Paul; he’s sincerely trying to understand and to be the best dad he can be to his multiracial family. The script acknowledges the challenges of racism but chooses a hopeful outlook over despair.
Despite its cheery outlook, Cheaper by the Dozen isn’t going to be as big a hit as previous versions – at least with adults. Kids, with their far lower standards, may well be amused by the anarchy. Older viewers will find that the movie drags at times, suspense is non-existent, and the movie’s plot holes are annoying. (For instance, if Zoe has a marketing degree, why on earth isn’t she handling the advertising and franchising issues? And if the family all work at the breakfast restaurant, why are they all at home in the mornings?)
Luckily, plot-related questions won’t irk young viewers, who will benefit from the movie’s positive messages of love, inclusion, forgiveness, kindness, and family togetherness. In this determinedly sunshiny film, the negative content – some profanity and surprising sexual innuendo – feels out of place. The film might feel preachy and plasticky at times, but it means well and won’t do any harm. When it comes to family viewing, you could do worse.Directed by Gail Lerner. Starring Gabrielle Union, Zach Braff, Erika Christensen. Running time: 107 minutes. Theatrical release March 18, 2022. Updated March 18, 2022
Watch the trailer for Cheaper by the Dozen (2022)
Cheaper by the Dozen (2022)
Rating & Content Info
Why is Cheaper by the Dozen (2022) rated PG? Cheaper by the Dozen (2022) is rated PG by the MPAA for thematic elements, suggestive material, and language.
Violence: A bully knocks a teen into his locker: the victim later jumps on and hits him.
Sexual Content: A girl sneaks out and stays overnight at her boyfriend’s house. A married couple are seen embracing passionately on a tabletop. A child has a bloody nose after running into a door. A married couple embrace passionately on their bed. There is brief, occasional innuendo. A young character briefly twerks. A man’s bare chest is visible as he changes his clothes. There are scenes of women wearing clothes with very revealing necklines. A teenage girl wears a very short skirt.
Profanity: There are six terms of deity and three minor profanities.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults are seen holding bottles of alcohol and drinking in moderation. An adult asks for a beer but gets apple juice. There is mention of an adult relative being in rehab.
Page last updated March 18, 2022
Cheaper by the Dozen (2022) Parents' Guide
The family members seem to have different ideas of what will make them happy. Why do they not communicate effectively about them? What do you think makes you happy? Is it related to money or to other people? How much of it is in your control? To what extent do you think you control your happiness as opposed it being influenced by circumstances?
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