Australian Council on Children and the Media

Cheaper by the Dozen 2

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Short takes

Not recommended under 5, PG to 8 (Theme, Viol. Lang.)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Cheaper by the Dozen 2
  • a review of Cheaper by the Dozen 2 completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 18 December 2005.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 5 Due to the movieu2019s theme and slapstick violence, this movie is not recommended for children under the age of five.
Children aged 5-10 Due to the movieu2019s violence, infrequent coarse language and mixed messages, parental guidance is recommended for children between the ages of five and ten.
Children over the age of 10 Children over the age of ten should be able to view this movie with or without parental guidance.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Cheaper by the Dozen 2
Classification: G
Consumer advice lines: None
Length 94 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Tom and Kate Baker (Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt) are the parents of twelve children, with their youngest in junior primary and their oldest daughter Nora (Piper Perabo) married and eight months pregnant. Tom and Kate, somewhat melancholy about the rate at which their brood is leaving home gather the clan together for one last summer holiday at Lake Winnetka, where the family once spent their summer holidays. When they arrive, they find that Tom’s old high school nemesis Jimmy Murtaugh (Eugene Levy) is holidaying across the lake with his eight children and new wife Sarina (Carmen Electa).

It doesn’t take long for the pair to start locking horns when Murtaugh starts to gives Tom advice on how to bring up his children. Meanwhile one of Tom’s younger daughters Sarah (Alyson Stoner) and Murtaugh’s son Eliot (Taylor Launter) develop a liking for each other, as does Tom’s older son Charlie (Tom Welling) and Murtaugh’s oldest daughter. The competition between Tom and Jimmy builds and comes to a head when the two families compete in the annual Labour Day Cup competition.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

None of concern.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 contains some slapstick violence, including:

  • an argument between Tom and Jimmy develops into a poking match, with the pair poking their fingers at each other’s chests. As a result of Jimmy poking him in the chest, Tom overbalances, falls over the cinema balcony, and dangles there with Jimmy hanging on to his feet.
  • Tom falls off a log and injures his groin.

There are also some heated verbal exchanges, including:

  • The argument  in the cinema balcony that culminates in Tom falling over the balcony
  • Jimmy states that his team would “Step down on their throats until they stop breathing”
  • Tom’s daughter Nora pokes her finger at Jimmy’s chest, telling him that he has just “Pissed off a severely pregnant hormonal woman.”
  • At all times rivalry between Tom and Jimmy is portrayed in a humorous, slapstick almost cartoon-like context, with no real consequences.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

Cheaper by the Dozen 2 contains no scary visual images. However, there are some scenes involving dangerous situations set in a comic context, which could concern some very young children.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

Children in this age group may be disturbed or scared by the scenes mentioned above.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

It is unlikely that children in this age group would be disturbed or scared by any material in this film.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

It is unlikely that children in this age group would be disturbed or scared by any material in this film.

Product placement

None of concern.

Sexual references

There is one scene in which the Bakers’ family dog sexually attacks Sarina; highlighting Sarina’s sensuality in a comic manner.

Nudity and sexual activity

The film contains no nudity, but there are a number of images of scantily dressed women, wearing very low cut tops revealing their cleavage, or sensuous bikini style swimwear, including:

  • Jimmy’s older daughter catches the eye of Tom’s older son when she swims past in a bikini that exposes a tattoo above her bottom.
  • Jimmy’s wife Sarina wears tight fitting clothing that exposes as much of her cleavage as possible.

Use of substances

Alcohol is used on two occasions, one at a graduation party, the other at a clambake at a country club. On these occasions, people are shown drinking beer, wine and champagne.

Coarse language

There is some occasional coarse language and putdowns, including:

  • what a moron
  • screwed up
  • Sweet Jesus
  • pissed off

In a nutshell

The main take-home message is about the challenges of parenting and the importance of doing your best and accepting your mistakes. Another message is about the difficulties young teenagers can face growing up.

The film contains some mixed messages that could be confusing for some adolescents. One is about whether or not appearance is important or not, with the statement being made that it isn’t as important as who you are, yet still twelve year old Sarah undergoes a makeover to improve her appearance. There is also a shoplifting incident, which although theoretically frowned upon, is resolved by using bribery. There is also the suggestion that the shoplifting itself was justifiable because it resulted from internal adolescent conflict.

Parents may wish to encourage the manner in which the Baker family support each other, and the caring qualities that family members display for each other. Parents may also wish to discuss with children the real life consequences of practical jokes that backfire, of violence even when it is slapstick and the serious real life consequence associated with shop lifting.

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