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Saturday, November 11, 2006

Cheaper By The Dozen 2 and Yours, Mine and Ours

Cheaper By The Dozen 2 (2005)
Dir: Adam Shankman
Starring: Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Eugene Levy

Yours, Mine and Ours (2005)
Dir: Raja Gosnell
Starring: Dennis Quaid, Rene Russo

Yes, I know there are two films listed above, No, I'm not combining two films into one review to save time (although that is part of the reason). I am doing it because those two films happened to arrive at my house from LOVEfilm very soon after one another and they are very similar films, so I thought I'd compare them. It'll make a change, anyway. Let the battle of The Movies With Tons Of Kids In commence!

OK, plots. Cheaper By The Dozen 2 (hereafter known as 'Cheaper'. No, 'Dozen'. No, 'Cheaper'.) is the sequel to the 2003 movie of the same name, only without the '2'. It is about the Baker family, who consist of Tom and Kate (Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt) and their twelve kids (I'm not going to name them all) and the fun, family-friendly antics they get up to. This movie is about their holiday spent at a cabin by a lake somewhere, where they meet their old rivals, the Murtaughs, headed by Eugene Levy, who have eight kids. Cue lots of chaos, dads getting covered in sticky/wet substances, out-of-control pets and ultimately, lots of heartfelt lessons learned about the importance of family.

Yours, Mine and Ours (hereafter known as YMO) is about two people, Frank Beardsley (Dennis Quaid) and Helen North (Rene Russo) who were high school sweethearts and meet again after many years and after their respective spouses have died. They decide to movie into a big lighthouse together with their two families. That's the problem. He has eight children and she has ten. So, there are EIGHTEEN kids living together in one house. Also, Helen's kids are extremely carefree, artistic and used to being let loose, whereas Frank's kids are strictly disciplined (Frank is some important position in the military) and generally used to a lot of rules and regulations. Cue lots of chaos, dads getting covered in sticky/wet substances, out-of-control pets and ultimately, lots of heartfelt lessons learned about the importance of family.

I have somewhat of a fascination with large families. Maybe because I have a relatively small immediate family. I don't know. But it's the reason I wanted to see these two movies.

Firstly, Cheaper has the advantage of an already-established cast and characters. YMO doesn't have that advantage, but it kind of steals a lot of Cheaper's formula and characters, so I guess it does. The two films are extremely alike and basically, if you like one, you'll like the other.

The trouble with YMO is that there are simply too many kids. Eighteen is a heck of a lot. That means that you can't get to know the characters well, or get to knwo them at all. Towards the end of the movie a child would say something and I'd be like "Where the hell did he/she come from? Have I seen her before?". So perhaps it would have been better to have 5 and 7 kids, instead of 8 and 10. Because there are just too many.

Cheaper doesn't have that problem because we already know who all the kids are from the first movie, which I have seen several times. Yes, there are eight new kids added to the mixture, but we don't see a whole lot of them so we don't really need to get to know them anyway. The Bakers are the important ones.

Another problem with YMO is that it is not quite as family-friendly as Cheaper, despite them having the same certificate. There is more about teenage romance and parties (Cheaper has a thirteen-year-old going on her fist date, but that's just sweet.) and more (and I don't mean a lot, just more) about the parents' sex life. Now there's nothing bad about all that, it just doesn't quite fit in with a film that also featurs a pet pig running amok and little kids stuffing their faces with chocolate. The main thing that annoyed me was that two of the eldest kids, Phoebe and William, from each of the different families, had a lot of on-screen chemistry and you kind of knew they were going to get together. Then the film went on and you were wondering when it was actually going to happen. And then the film ended. They never got together, althugh they seem to hug and look at each other quite a bit. Maybe it was in an early draft but the writers decided it was a bit iffy due to them being stepbrother and stepsisters. Anyway...

I'm kind of rambling now so I'll try to round it up. Basically, I liked Cheaper better because the Bakers make such a nice family unit. Yes, the films has a lot of faults (the casting of Eugene Levy, whom I hate, for a start) but you can't help liking the family. Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo try to be as good as Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt but they just aren't. I would even not mind seeing a third film (dare I suggest it) becasue I want to see what happens to the kids. After the two films you really get to know them all and I want to see more of them. I barely saw all the eighteen kids in YMO so I don't really care about them.

Overall, YMO tries to do what Cheaper 1&2 did but they just can't outdo the Bakers. Yay!

Yours, Mine and Ours

Cheaper By The Dozen 2

Talliestar xxx

(Charming as the movies are (ahem), I had trouble finding these quotes. These are not the wittiest films in the world.)

Lorraine: You know how I feel about camping.
Tom: But, we're staying in a house.
Lorraine: A house with no air conditioning. That makes it camping.


Frank: Well, Mrs. Munion, what do you think about Connecticut?
Mrs Munion (the housekeeper): I'm delighted to be here in the birthplace of Lyme disease.


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