Cheaper by the Dozen is a 2003 American family comedy film which takes its title from the autobiographical book of the same name by Frank B. Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey, but despite the title and the concept of a family with twelve children, the film bears no resemblance to the book nor its original film adaptation, although it is mentioned that the mother's maiden name is Gilbreth. The film was directed by Shawn Levy, narrated by Bonnie Hunt, and starring Steve Martin. The film was released on December 25, 2003 by 20th Century Fox, ultimately grossing just over $190 million worldwide.
Tom Baker (Martin) is a football coach at a small rural college in Midland, Indiana, where he raised twelve children, and his wife, Kate (Hunt), has written about her story in a book and hopes to send it to her friend to publish it. At the film's beginning, Tom unexpectedly receives an offer from his old friend and football teammate, Shake McGuire (Jenkins), to coach at his alma mater in Evanston, Illinois. Tom accepts the offer, and he and Kate begin making their plans on moving to Evanston. All twelve children find out and demand the move be put to a vote, even though Tom says it would not have any power. Tom loses the vote, even after he and Kate join, but goes ahead with the move anyway, claiming there will be more money and that they will be a "happier and stronger family". However, the atmosphere at the Bakers' new house is tense, and the situation at school for the children is even worse, although their new neighbors' the Shenks seem allright, especially their first and only son, Dylan. Moments after moving in, Dylan accidentally falls and swings on the chandelier, thus Tom swings on it afterwards to rescue him. However the chain fails; Dylan falls and is catched by his parents, while the chandelier smashes on the floor, along with Tom, who is not injured.
When her book is ready for publication, Kate is recommended to do a national book tour to promote it. Tom thinks that he will handle everything around the Bakers' house while Kate is away, so he decides to hire the Bakers' oldest child, Nora (Perabo), and her boyfriend, Hank (Kutcher), to manage the children. When Nora and Hank arrive at the Bakers' house to manage them, the children plans to make Hank the target of their prank by soaking his underwear in meat and assisting the Bakers' pet dog, Gunner, to attack him by chewing his bottom, prompting him to refuse to assist in baby-sitting. As a result, Nora is angry at the children and later drives off with Hank, while Tom berates the children for their prank (and also for causing the chandelier repair man to fall off his ladder and smash another lamp), cuts off their allowance within a month. Moments after Kate departs for her national book tour, Tom realizes that he cannot handle the children on his own after a chaotic night. In reply to this revelation, Tom tries to hire a housekeeper, but nobody is willing to work with a family as large as the Bakers, so Tom decides to bring the football players from work into the Bakers' house for game practicing in the living room to prepare for the Saturday night football game as the children perform chores and their household games. However, the children start causing trouble at school, in which Kyle and Nigel hurt their kindergarten teacher, and the others stand-up against a group of bullies by fighting them. Because of these incidents, Tom grounds them all and forbids them from going to Dylan's birthday party, although they already have presents for him. Without Tom noticing them, the children sneak out of the house to give Dylan his presents. While discussing the plays, Tom overhears party-goers screaming from Dylan's house as one of the gifts turns out to be a snake. In all of the commotion, Dylan gets injured by Tom and is later sent to the hospital as Tina forbids the Baker kids from ever playing with Dylan again. Tom is forced to cancel the game after Shake advises him not to bring the players in the Bakers' house or the children in the department again.
Kate overhears from the children about the chaos and cancels the book tour to take charge of the situation. Kate's publisher decides to create an additional promotion for her book by inviting Oprah Winfrey to tape a segment about the Bakers in their home instead. Despite much coaching from Kate, the Bakers are not able to demonstrate the loving, strongly bonded family that Kate described in her book. When Mark (Landis) becomes upset that his pet frog, Beans, has died, and Sarah tells him that nobody cares and calling him Fedex once again, a heated fight erupts moments before the segment starts, leading the cameramen to tell Winfrey to cancel it. Afterwards, Mark runs away from home, prompting the Bakers to find him. Tom indulges a hunch that Mark is trying to run back to the Bakers' old home, and eventually finds Mark on an Amtrak train en route from Chicago to Midland. Reuniting with the rest of their family, the Bakers begin to address their issues with each other. Tom ultimately resigns from his position at his alma mater and settles for a less-time consuming job. The film ends at a Christmas dinner with the family when the chandelier lamp breaks off again and smashes.
- Steve Martin as Tom Baker
- Bonnie Hunt as Kate Gilbreth Baker
- Piper Perabo as Nora Baker, 22 years old
- Tom Welling as Charlie Baker, 18 years old
- Hilary Duff as Lorraine Baker, 16 years old
- Kevin Schmidt as Henry Baker, 14 years old
- Alyson Stoner as Sarah Baker, 12 years old
- Jacob Smith as Jake Baker, 11 years old
- Forrest Landis as Mark Baker, 10 years old
- Liliana Mumy and Morgan York as Jessica and Kim Baker, 8-year-old fraternal twins
- Blake Woodruff as Mike Baker, 6 years old
- Brent and Shane Kinsman as Kyle and Nigel Baker, 5-year-old identical twins
- Steven Anthony Lawrence as Dylan Shenk
- Paula Marshall and Alan Ruck as Tina and Bill Shenk
- Richard Jenkins as Shake McGuire
- Ashton Kutcher (uncredited) as Hank
- Tiffany Dupont as Beth
- Cody Linley as Quinn
- Jared Padalecki as an unnamed bully
- Joel McCrary as Gil
- Dax Shepard as himself
- Regis Philbin as himself
- Kelly Ripa as herself
- Frank Welker as Gunner (voice)
- Wayne Knight as Electrician (uncredited)