CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (2022)
Hold on to your butts: Cheaper By The Dozen is a delightfully charming family film that tackles modern day familial issues with grace and humor while showcasing spectacular young talents.
The Bakers, a blended family of twelve led by Gabrielle Union and Zach Braff, ride the highs and lows of a burgeoning family business in this update to the 1950 and 2003 classics. Coming off of Home Sweet Home Alone, I was incredibly nervous for what this film would end up being, but I am happy to say that director Gail Lerner has delivered a true family hit here with Cheaper By The Dozen. Union and Braff have incredible chemistry that immediately draws you to them, their humor pointed and impactful as they wrangle their family every morning before work and school. The kids themselves are incredibly entertaining, especially young Andre Robinson, Mykal-Michelle Harris, and Leo Abelo Perry. There were numerous times that I found myself unexpectedly bursting into laughter due to a quick quip or ridiculous comment (sometimes one in the same).
The team of writers behind this latest reboot has cracked the code for a modern story that is both poignant and approachable for all ages. Issues of racial bias, class status, family dynamics, bullying, and more are all touched upon with the best of intentions, sticking the landing every step of the way. Sure, the story moves fast and there are fantastical aspects (thought more grounded than the 2003 outing) that sugarcoat the ins and outs of everyday family life, especially with such a large group under one roof, but it works for the type of film Cheaper By The Dozen is attempting to be. Did we need this update? Absolutely not. But does it work? Better than could have been expected. I suspect many kids will find themselves drawn to one or more of the kids in the film, maybe even seeing a little bit of themselves, leading to what could easily be a handful of films revisiting the Bakers on Disney+. What a pleasant surprise full of heart and an enjoyable reminder of how important family can be.
Cheaper By the Dozen hits Disney+ this Friday.