6 August 2004 | tqnohe
Dozen do it for me
Let's see if this film has all the necessaries of a modern film.
1) Classic title 2) Dad is an idiot 3) New script bearing no resemblance to the original. 4) Male lead cannot droll without instructions from female 5) Children are out of control 6) The man is incurably stupid 7) Mother is a wise saint 8) Father has no clue about his own home (have I covered that already??) 9) Large families result from irresponsibility
I saw and loved the original. I held no illusions that this would be nearly as good. In fact I knew it would require some updates. The world of the 1950s when the original was made and the 1920s when it was set are dramatically different.
The story is weak, the comedy is poor, the new plot is bigoted.
In the original, Clifton Webb play an efficiency expert Frank Gilbreth. In fact, Frank Gilbreth's principles are still taught in course on efficiency in industry. He was a real person. And a competent one. His son John Kenneth Gilbreth, went on to become one of the world's leading economists. To this very day.
In this one, Frank Baker (Baker's dozen ... get it? Hit me over the head with a joke why doncha?) is a small time football coach who is so inefficient that he can't get breakfast on the table and wipe up a spill at the same time. And it's hard to imagine his wanna be drop out son becoming anything but a bum.
The scene from the original where the woman from Planned Parenthood came to the door to humorous results was morphed into the yuppy neighbors, the Shenks, essentially scolding anyone who has or wants more than two kids. Tina is so obsessed with having only one that Bill is portray as sexually frustrated ... he ain't getting none lest she conceive again.
I grew up in a family of 13. While my Dad was not the modern hands on type, he was aware of where things were and how things worked. He could cook and do the laundry and get us off to school on time. And he worked hard to be able to pay for us all to go to Catholic school. He had to be efficient; every 18 months or so, Mom was squeezing out another sib.
We were well behaved. We had to be. If not, 13 children turn into the unruly mob shown in this stupid film. I knew other families like ours. From nine to fifteen kids. They were all self disciplined families. I cannot tell you how many people, my sister-in-law included, who have asked me if it was "that way in your house." People came out of this movie thinking that large families are rude and out of control.