Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cheaper by the Dozen. B

The original Cheaper by the Dozen might resonate more with large families, particularly parents who have endured the same highs and lows that the ones in the movie do. This film is strongly pro-family, though its conservative bent doesn't come as a surprise considering it came out in 1950. There's a whole sequence involving a woman from Planned Parenthood that would never have come through today. There's a strong cast on display here, including Myrna Loy as the empathic mother, Clifton Webb (the shifty writer from Perminger's Laura) as the ardently traditionalist dad, and Jeanne Crain as the eldest daughter. And though It would be pointless to mention their names, the rest of the children are all very good, too, not once causing the viewer to cringe like many youngsters do in movies these days. This is a very light, funny, and well-rounded family movie. In its brief running time of 85 minutes, it pays attention to large family life as a whole, the parents when they're alone, and the oldest daughter trying to cope with growing up in a changing world with her father trying protect her from harmful influences. Ultimately, the movie says to let go of tradition some to in order to be compatible with society's standards. I liked that. Cheaper By the Dozen is nothing more than a comedy for most of the time, yet it's based off a true story and stays true to fact. The ending hits us with a blow that's hardly expected, and really unnecessary. It puts a damper on a fun time, and really doesn't fit with the overall tone of the film. I'd take Yours Mine and Ours (the original, not the remake) over this any day, but for the first 80 minutes it's still pretty good.

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