20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Eugene Levy, Tom Welling, Hillary Duff
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes, Trailers
"Cheaper By The Dozen 2, " directed by Adam Shankman, is one of those safe yet generic family comedies that's harmless enough to sit through; especially if you have children and are already conditioned to watching such fare with them. As long as you don't go in expecting anything memorable from Steve Martin you should be alright. Using the same cast of characters – and actors – the film almost seamlessly continues the saga the way "Cheaper By The Dozen" had set it up. Not that it matters much in terms of the plot, but there is a definite sense of continuity here tat can be appreciated.
"Cheaper By The Dozen 2" picks up a few years later finding the Baker children still growing up and some of them preparing to move on with their lives. Two of the daughters are moving away. One is pregnant and expecting soon, while the other just graduated high school and is going away to college. Because of this, Tom Baker (Steve Martin) wants one last family vacation, feeling this may be the last time the entire family will be together.
The movie stars Steve Martin and the ever likable Bonnie Hunt as Tom and Kate Baker, heads of the "Baker Clan," a family of 12. In this sequel, the Bakers head off to the mountains and go to camp. All the original children reprise their roles and are complemented by notable cast members such as Eugene Levy, Tom Welling, Piper Perabo, Hillary Duff and Carmen Elektra.
As in the previous film, we find the Baker clan getting themselves caught up in various generic and comedic misadventures, caused primarily by Steve Martin's endlessly fumbling character Tom Baker. Centering on competing with Tom's rival, the overzealous Jimmy Mertaugh (Eugene Levy) and his brood of 8, the film has plenty of leeway for things to go wrong and makes perfect use of it. Jimmy is a wealthy man who fashions himself as an overachiever and seems to think he is better than Tom at everything.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is offering "Cheaper By The Dozen 2" now on Blu-Ray Disc for the first time, featuring a nice and clean 1080p high definition transfer. Restoring the movie's full 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the transfer is wonderfully rich and sparkling, bringing to life the wonderful camp settings the story plays in and revealing plenty of detail to let viewers fully appreciate the grandeur of the great outdoors.
The audio on the release is featured as a DTS 5.1 HD Master Audio track, and while this film is certainly not designed to be create a reference track, the presentation is always surprisingly active. The frequency response is wide with deep basses and clean high ends. Dialogues are perfectly balanced and never drowned out.
As bonus materials on this release you will find a commentary track by director Adam Shankman, which gives viewers a good idea about the production and some deeper thoughts on the film and its cast of characters. He offers a warm, friendly and informative discussion featuring a mixture of scene specific as well as some background info related to the filming of the movie. Also included is a "Fox Movie Channel Presents" featurette, an 8-minute look at the casting of the Mertaugh children. Further included is "Camp Chaos" a 10-minute featurette with more behind-the-scenes information. Finishing up the disc is "A Comedic Trio" a breezy 5-minute discussion by cast members talking about what it was like working with Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt. A few trailers including 2 for the movie itself ties things up.
If you or your family is looking for a basically harmless "feel good" family comedy and there's nothing else available, "Cheaper By The Dozen 2" should fit that bill just fine.