A loose remake of the 1950 comedy with Myrna Loy (which was actually based on a true story), this stars Steve Martin as Tom Baker, dad to twelve children. Wife Kate (Hunt) has to leave him in charge when she goes off on a book tour, he’s just started a new job as coach to a football team and, as you would expect, one kiddie crisis follows another.
A big enough success to warrant a dire 2005 sequel (in which the entire brood run amok on holiday), this is family entertainment at its most predictable. Steve Martin, who has been so funny in movies like The Man With Two Brains, The Jerk and Parenthood (in which he gives a much better performance as a stressed-out dad, though grown-ups should note it’s not a kids’ film), here just phones in a performance as the harried dad, leaving the comedy to the kids, played by Hilary Duff, Tom Welling and various cute tots (while Ashton Kutcher pops up as a guy who may be considering marrying into this chaos). Like the similar Kindergarten Cop and Daddy Day Care (in which Eddie Murphy runs his own day-care centre), this passes the time but isn’t worth making too much of an effort to see.
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