Cheaper by the Dozen (2003 film)

Cheaper by the Dozen (2003 film)
Cheaper by the Dozen

Promotional poster
Directed by Shawn Levy
Produced by Michael Barnathan
Robert Simonds
Written by Craig Titley
Sam Harper
Joel Cohen
Alec Sokolow
Narrated by Bonnie Hunt
Starring Steve Martin
Bonnie Hunt
Tom Welling
Piper Perabo
Hilary Duff
Jacob Smith
Alyson Stoner
Kevin G. Schmidt
Morgan York
Forrest Landis
Liliana Mumy
Blake Woodruff
Shane Kinsman
Brent Kinsman
Ashton Kutcher
Music by Christophe Beck
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date(s) December 25, 2003 (2003-12-25)
Running time 98 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $40 million
Box office $190,212,113

Cheaper by the Dozen is a 2003 American comedy film about a family with 12 children (seven boys and five girls). The film takes its title from the 1948 biography of the same name of Frank Bunker Gilbreth and Lillian Moller Gilbreth and their 12 children, but other than the title and the concept of a family with 12 children, the film bears no resemblance to the book nor its movie adaption. The film was directed by Shawn Levy, who also helped produce the sequel Cheaper by the Dozen 2. It was released on Thursday, December 25, 2003 by 20th Century Fox.



Kate Baker (Bonnie Hunt) narrates a story about her large family: her husband Tom (Steve Martin) is a football coach at a small rural college, Kate is hoping to publish her book on parenting, and all while they manage their twelve children, eleven of which live at home. When Tom unexpectedly receives an offer from his old friend Shake McGuire (Richard Jenkins) to coach at a large university, the family moved to Evanston, Illinois despite the protests of their younger children. The family's second child, Charlie (Tom Welling), refuses to leave his girlfriend, Beth (Tiffany Dupont), and the others simply don't want to leave their friends and home. The atmosphere at the new house, which is absolutely huge, is tense, and the situation at school is even worse. The younger children are, in general, harrassed at school. Charlie is taunted for being a "country boy", while Jake and Mark especially are consistently antagonized.

When Kate's book is ready to pick up for publication, she is required to do a national book tour to promote it. Tom proves unable to balance his new position and maintenance of the household, so he hires the family's oldest child, Nora (Piper Perabo) and her boyfriend Hank (Ashton Kutcher) to manage the younger children. The younger children detest Hank, and make him the target of their antagonistic pranks, prompting him to refuse to assist in baby-sitting. Soon after, chaos ensues at their next-door neighbor's birthday party, resulting in major property damage and the hospitalization of Dylan Shenk (Steven Anthony Lawrence). Kate is forced to cut short the book tour to take charge of the situation. Her publisher decides to create additional promotion for the book by inviting The Oprah Winfrey Show to tape a segment about the Bakers in their home. Despite much coaching from Kate, the Bakers are not able to demonstrate the loving, strongly bonded family that Kate described in her book. When a fight erupts before the segment starts, it is cancelled.

As a result of the fight, Mark feels unwanted and runs away. Despite the efforts of the Bakers, their friends, and the police, the family are unable to find Mark. However, Tom indulges a hunch that Mark is attempting to run back to the family's old home from the beginning of the film, and eventually found Mark on a train departing from Chicago to Midland, Indiana. Reuniting with the rest of the family, they realize that they have not been a close family, and they begin to address their issues with each other. Ultimately, Tom resigns from his position at the university and settles for a less time-consuming job; however, the family decided to remain in Evanston. The film ends with Kate's narration explaining that the Bakers are closer as a result of their experiences.


  • Steve Martin as Tom Baker, husband of Kate Baker, father of their 12 children, and the main protagonist of the film. He sacrificed his dream of coaching at a big school to fulfill his dream of raising a large family. He eventually gets his dream job of coaching, but eventually resigns after realizing he is missing out on his children's lives.
  • Bonnie Hunt as Kate Baker, the mother of the 12 children and wife of Tom Baker. The loss of a sister in childhood inspired her to have a large family. She sacrificed a dream of being a sports journalist to become a stay-at-home mom. Kate grew up wishing she had a larger family, like Tom. She later quickly becomes used to the lifestyle of a professional book writer, but ultimately misses her family and abandons her new career after publishing her book which becomes a best seller.
  • Piper Perabo as Nora Baker, the oldest Baker child. She lives on her own with her boyfriend, Hank. Nora dislikes her siblings for interfering with her personal life with Hank, as they always pull pranks on him because they see him as a jerk. She later realizes they were right about him when he doesn't seem to care about her brother Mark after he runs away.
  • Tom Welling as Charlie Baker, the second oldest child and first born boy. The move to Evanston is especially taxing on Charlie, as all of his memories were in Midland. Treated as an outsider by his peers, he grows more detached from the family when Tom and Kate's careers pull them away from home. Only when he removed from the football team do his parents notice how much he is suffering.
  • Hilary Duff as Lorraine Baker, the third child. Lorraine loves glamour and aspires to be a "fashion guru" and hates getting Nora's hand-me-downs. She is closest to Sarah, her polar opposite, though they tend to argue frequently.
  • Kevin Schmidt as Henry Baker, the fourth child. He looks up to Charlie more than anyone else in the family. He prefers to play the clarinet and is the most musical member of the family.
  • Alyson Stoner as Sarah Baker, the fifth child. She describes herself as a master prankster, but her pranks sometimes tend to get out of control. Sarah is tomboyish and enjoys vigorous team sports.
  • Jacob Smith as Jake Baker, the sixth child. Jake enjoys skateboarding and is closest to his older sister, Sarah, and his younger brother, Mike.
  • Forrest Landis as Mark Baker, seventh child. He is often teased by his siblings because of his red hair and glasses. He has an affinity for pets, most notably a pet frog named Beans, who is Mark's constant companion and only confidante. His attempted escapade back to Midland is what inspires the family to become closer.
  • Liliana Mumy and Morgan York as Jessica and Kim Baker, the first set of twins, who are fraternal. They are the eighth and ninth children. They are the smartest in the family, although their intellect goes largely unnoticed. They are frequently involved in Sarah's pranks and are close to each other.
  • Blake Woodruff as Mike Baker, the tenth child. He was born due to a night of drinking for his parents. Mike is closest to his older brother Jake, and spends most of his time the older children. He enjoys skateboarding, hockey, and performing potentially dangerous physical stunts, such as hanging from the roof of the house.
  • Shane and Brent Kinsman as Kyle and Nigel Baker, identical twin boys, the eleventh and twelfth children. They look up to all of their siblings, and enjoy frequently taking part in Sarah's pranks.
  • Ashton Kutcher as Hank, Nora's boyfriend. Because he is usually the frequent target of Sarah's shenanigans, he dislikes children. Nora eventually breaks up with him after he doesn't seem to care about Mark after he is reported missing.
  • Paula Marshall as Tina Shenk, Dylan's over-protective mother who dislikes the Baker children. She is generally hostile towards the Bakers. She appears to believe that the Bakers have too many children.
  • Steven Anthony Lawrence as Dylan Shenk, Tina's son. He is friendly towards the Bakers and wonders why he did not have siblings.
  • Richard Jenkins as Shake McGuire, Tom Baker's old football team mate who is now the director of the football program at the university. Shake was the one who offered the coaching job to Tom, prompting the move to Evanston.
  • Alan Ruck as Bill Shenk, Dylan's father who is far kinder than Tina and actually likes the Bakers. In a few scenes in the movie, he makes subtle hints that he wanted more children, unlike Tina who wanted "one perfect child".
  • Dax Shepard as a member of the camera crew.
  • Tiffany Dupont as Beth, Charlie's girlfriend who lives in Midland.
  • Cody Linley as Quinn, a school bully who picks on Mark and the other children.
  • Regis Philbin as Himself.
  • Kelly Ripa as Herself.
  • Jared Padalecki as a unnamed bully who picks on Charlie for being the new kid in town and a "hick".
  • Frank Welker as the voice of Gunner, the Bakers' pet dog.


A sequel, Cheaper by the Dozen 2, was released in the United States on December 21, 2005.


"Cheaper by the Dozen" Soundtrack
No. Title Length
1. "I'm Just a Kid"   1:24
2. "Help!"   1:12
3. "In Too Deep"   2:46
4. "What Christmas Should Be"   3:10


Awards and Nominations

Cheaper by the Dozen has been nominated and won several awards. The following is a list of these:

Result Type of award Category Year
Nominated Teen Choice Award Choice movie blush (Hilary Duff), Choice breakout movie star (male) (Tom Welling), Choice movie liplock 2004[1]
Won Young artist award Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated Best performance in feature film (Alyson Stoner and Forrest Landis)

Critical reception

The film received mixed to negative reviews from film critics, with 23% of critics giving a positive review and an average score of 4.6 out of 10 according Rotten Tomatoes, based on 112 reviews.[2] The movie has an average score of 46 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 30 reviews.[3] At the U.S. box office, the film opened at #2 raking in $27,557,647 USD in its first opening weekend and got stuck at the runner up position the following week being held off the top spot by The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Despite its mixed reviews, it became a box office hit. Critics praised the whole casts performance, and especially praised performances by Martin, Hunt, and Duff.


External links

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