Years prior the Bakers had previously been on family vacations at Lake Winnetka and had competed in a fierce rivalry with another family – The Murtaugh’s – headed by the obsessively competitive Jimmy Murtaugh (Eugene Levy), who is in attendance this year with his fourth wife, the much younger and unconfident Sarina (Carmen Elektra), which surprisingly does a great job in this role.
The stakes keep getting raised as Tom, and Jimmy strive to outdo each other, physically and mentally, in a series of escapades that culminate in the annual Lake Winnetka cup.
There are a few scenes that bring on belly laughs, and there is enough to raise a smile and certainly enough to keep younger viewers entertained. The slapstick antics are often, including the resident rat that continuously steals the Bakers prized possessions, the Baker dog Gunner, who manages to destroy a family meal and expensive table setting at the Murtaugh’s and of course, the ongoing rivalry between Tom and Jimmy, who even resort to spying on one of their own children who go on a date at the local cinema.
Subplots are included to round out the events as some of the children of both families discover new friendships and the future of the family unit is tested as the eldest of the Baker children enter adulthood. One being the arrival of the first Baker grandchild, born to the eldest Baker, Nora and her husband. Thankfully not the character played by Ashton Kutcher in the first film. Tom Welling shines as the eldest Baker boy who falls for the eldest Murtaghh daughter. But the best scene, that brought a tear to this viewer’s eye was when Nora (Peiper Perabo) says that they have decided to name their baby Tom after her father.
‘Cheaper By The Dozen 2’ is a fun film and would certainly be able to be enjoyed by the whole family. It is not quite as good as the original, but again what sequel is? B