Sometimes while watching a movie if you listen hard enough you can almost hear the meeting that took place at the movie studio when the film's concept was first pitched. Such is the case with 2003's Cheaper By The Dozen
, a film directed by Shawn Levy
and featuring the undeserved talents of Steve Martin
. If you concentrate I bet that you can tune into the meeting right now...
"OK guys, put your heads together on this one. We need a family comedy to open on Christmas Day 2003. Something that adults, teens, and kids can all go see together. Whaddya got for me?"
"Well, sir, if we're going to appeal to all three target audiences, we'll need someone big. Some real star power. Like for the adults we need someone wild and crazy
, yet also calm and restrained."
"Like Parenthood meets Housesitter."
"Right. I think we can get Steve Martin to topline. He can play the loveable father."
"Good, good. Now who's he married to?"
still owes us a picture."
"Great, get her. Now these two gotta have some kids. Brainstorm for me."
"Rebellious teen jock
"Tomboy little girl."
"Skinny awkward kid."
"Overweight sloppy kid."
"Twin boys. Everyone loves twins. You ever see those kids on Everybody Loves Raymond
? I swear, those two are-"
"Stay on topic. Now, what else ya got?"
"Teen fashion queen."
"Eldest daughter living with boyfriend
"Who's the boyfriend?"
"Oh, some self-obsessed pretty boy
. He's all wrong for her. He'll just have a few scenes and then at the end of the movie she dumps him."
"Maybe we could just go with three generic kids and focus on Steve and Bonnie."
"I like, I like. Those are great ideas, but we gotta cut them down. We can't make a movie about twelve kids!"
"Wait, maybe we can. Remember that 1950 movie with Clifton Webb
? The one where he and his wife raise a large family?"
"Cheaper By The Dozen? Wasn't that based on some book?"
"Oh, I see where you're going with this..."
"Exactly, we just remake it. Steve and Bonnie are the parents of a family of twelve kids. We can get some teen star power
for the elder kids and then we just go cute for the younger ones."
"I don't know about this. Do you know how hard it is to write a script for fourteen principle characters?"
"Nah, this thing will write itself. How about this: Steve and Bonnie move the family from Smallville, USA to-"
"Ooh, great idea! We'll get that Clark Kent kid
to play the teen jock!"
"Like I was saying, they move to the big city and the kids don't like it there. They all rebel and pull all sorts of mean pranks and get into all kinds of mischief. You know the drill; one of them runs away, someone breaks something valuable. Then they all gang up on Steve and eventually he has to choose between his career and his family."
"What happened to Bonnie?"
"She's away on business. That way Steve has to watch the children and we get that whole Parenthood vibe going."
"Wait, what's Steve's job? What's he do that takes so much time from his kids?"
"I got it! He's the coach of a football team. Get it? Twelve players on the team and twelve kids in his family! His character's name is Baker."
"Yeah, Baker, dozen, twelve. See?"
"Clever. I think we have this in the bag. Just one thing though: how are we going to hold the kiddie interest?"
, of course. Vomit gags and that sort of thing. We'll have the fat kid slip in a puddle of puke. Kids love that stuff
"Sold! Gentlemen, we've done it again."