CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN 2 (Adam Shankman). 100 minutes. For venues and times, see Movie Listings. Rating: NN Rating: NN
It was a charming premise when Ernestine Gilbreth Carey and Frank B. Gilbreth Jr. 's book was made into a hit film in 1950, but writers Sam Harper and Craig Titley continue to butcher the Cheaper By The Dozen franchise.
During what could be their last family vacation, Tom Baker ( Steve Martin ) and the rest of the Baker clan come face to face with Tom's arch-nemesis, Jimmy Murtaugh ( Eugene Levy ) - as well as his eight overly accomplished kids, new blond wife ( Carmen Elektra ) and more money than the Bakers will ever see in a lifetime. Naturally, the fathers' mutual enmity escalates in a series of unfunny pranks, antics and petty declarations of war.
Cheaper By The Dozen 2 seems altogether too familiar. Here's Martin doing a spastic dance. There's Levy raising bushy eyebrows to deliver a lukewarm joke. Ah, those little scamps are up to no good again. Who doesn't love seeing fireworks smuggled into a country club, where they unexpectedly go off? Or an overexcited dog ruining a classy brunch? Good old predictable comic pablum.
Writers Harper and Titley and director Adam Shankman even deliver an officious commentary on parenting. Good parents let their children run wild. Bad ones make their children study during vacation.
This whole idea smacks of Ron Howard's Parenthood, which also starred Martin - except Parenthood was actually funny and authentic.
CBTD2 is neither of those things.