movie trailer (apple.com - quicktime)
NOTE: This spoiler was sent in by fynenikki84 who says... "This movie was hilarious. I wish Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt were my parents."(lol)
The movie begins with narrative from Bonnie Hunt of how she and Steve Martin met in college. They soon married young and both wanted at least 8 kids. Steve Martin grew up with 7 brothers and sisters and loved having a big family. However Bonnie Hunt's only sister died when she was little so she longed for a large family as well. So after a year came baby number one, Nora (Piper Perabo). Then number 2, Charlie (Tom Welling), number 3 , Lorraine (Hilary Duff), and so on until they got to their lucky number 8 which turned out to be twins. After 8 they kept going until they finished off with 11 and 12 with another set of twins.
Now the movie begins with the present showing Steve Martin jogging in the country. He comes home and Bonnie Hunt is editing her draft for a book she's written entitled "Cheaper by the Dozen". Steve Martin makes a comment about how this book will get them out of the country and he'll be able to get a mattress with no lumps in it. Bonnie replies," Didn't you know all you gotta do is pound the lumps flat". To which Steve says, " Like this?" as he hits the bed a bunch of kids start screaming and wrestling him.( A real feel good moment.lol) Soon we see the hustle and bustle of every morning as each person is assigned to a morning task. Some are making the lunches, while others help with breakfast. However one kid is looking for his frog, Beans. He asks his dad who calls him by anything other than his name, which is Mark. His dad isn't really paying attention to him so he looks down and continues his search alone. As everyone is about to dig in for breakfast Mark discovers his frog! on the hanging lamp above everyone who is about to dig into their breakfast. Steve then sees it too and tells Mark not to go for it. However he's too late. Mark swooshes his net at the frog who jumps down into the eggs.(thus the scene from the trailer). Everyones screaming, especially Lorraine who is a real priss.
Suddenly Bonnie and Steve have the frog cornered, however Steve slips and falls making more of a mess.
Soon the frog is retrieved and Steve turns to Mark and asks him to put the frog in his cage in a very aggrevated tone. Mark looks down again and turns around only to knock down all the mugs on the kitchen counter. Then one of the kids says," Nice going Fed Ex". Mark looks down again.
All the kids are heading out to school and Mark lags behind. he tells his Mom, "I don't fit in this family. Everybody calls me Fed Ex because I must've been delivered here by accident." (or something like that) His mom then says," You know where you fit in? Right here..." then she moves him in for a big hug. He seems very happy now, but that's start lived because the youngest set of twins are making trouble and Mom has gotta run to the rescue. This leaves Mark standing by himself again and looking down. (this kid really broke my heart.) Bonnie comes back to where she left Mark only to see him heading off to school still lagging behind the other kids.
Steve is now heading off to work and tells Bonnie "You're checking me out as I walk away, aren't you?" She says, " Oh yeah, you know it." And he does his little jig thingy and she shakes her booty. (It's cheesy but cute at the same time) At work Steve's old high school buddy shows up. The two littlest kids are with Steve at work and call the guy a "hot dog". He doesn't get it and tells the kids to go play so he can have "adult time". They say," We have no idea what that means". Their dad explains it's when little kids leave adults alone to talk about boring things. They leave and say something about how their mom was right when she called the guy a wiener. Steve then smooth things over by saying his wife likes him and kids say the darnest things. His buddy then says she could've had the star of the football team, but she settled for the loser of the team. (Something mean like that) Then he laughs it off like he's joking (right) and tell Steve why he came. He wants to offer him the postion of head coach for their old college team. This is Steve's dream job and his wife thinks he should do it. They'll have to move to Chicago and out of the country, but they'll have more money for another car, a bigger house, etc.
The family has a meeting with Nora on speaker phone. She's living with her actor boyfriend (Ashton Kutcher) who none of the kids approve of. Anyway, all the kids are mad about moving and Charlie doesn't wanna leave his girlfriend. They however bribe Lorraine with the prospect of new clothes instead of Nora's hand me downs. Soon the kids decide on a vote. Later that night Steve is going over the votes and 8 kids wrote "no" while 2 "yes" and 2 "maybe". They don't care and decide to move anyway. All they kids say goodbye to their friends, Charlie his girlfriend, and Mark his frog Bean's mother, Pork.
They arrive at their huge house (shall i say castle!) in Evanston, IL (hey, that's where i live!). Steve tells all the kids they each get their own room, except for the twins, and to go claim 'em. Everybodys off except for Charlie, he's still bummed. Steve tells him since they'll be getting a new car he can have the old one. Charlie asks if they're trying to bribe him, they say yes and ask if it's working. He says a little then turns around and smiles.
All the kids have their rooms except for Mark. He then discovers a room in the attic, away from everyone else! He looks around the room in a very sad manner.
Steve is soon off to work and no one hardly ever sees him anymore. Then Bonnie gets news that they're going to publish her book. There's a catch, she has to be in New York for three days. Steve assures her he'll manage and for her to go. Before she leaves, Nora comes to visit to exchange negotiations if she's going to watch the kids while mom's away. She brings her boyfriend and the kids plot mayhem for him. First they knock him in dirty pool water, then they offer to dry his clothes only to dip them in ground beef. Once he's all dressed again the dog attacks him at the dinner table and he crawls away. He's then in his car but all the neighborhood dogs are going at him too. He makes Nora leave with him and she doesn't take the babysitting job. All the kids are bummed once again. After this, mom leaves and the kids are even more sad. Soon the kiddies start school. 5 are in elementary school and Mark is already picked on by bullies the very first day. Charlie and Lorraine both start high school. They kids already label them as hicks and make fun of Charlies rusty old car. Charlie joins the football team but the coaches knew his dad and give him a hard time. All the kids wanna go home. Mark even makes a drawing of his favorite place in the world, their old home in Midland. (important later)
Steve is having trouble balancing work and the kids, who are out of control. His high school buddy warns him he needs to be devoted to the team. Bonnie is also having some problems. She needs to do a book tour and this will take out 2 more weeks of away time. When she informs Steve of this he realizes he needs some help, a babysitter. This doesn't work out when he comes to the realization that nobody wants to watch 12 kids!
Nora then finds a real job, but her dad needs her to babysit. Bonnie finds out about this and how uncontrolable the kids have been. Charlie is quitting the football team, the kids in elementary school were all caught fighting when they were defending Mark from the bullies, and the twins were throwing things at their kindergarten teacher. Finally she decides to forget about the rest of the tour and go home. However she's having one last appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show at their house and wants everybody and everything cleaned when she gets there. She finally arrives home and her and Steve automatically start fighting. The kids think they're about to get a divorce and start blaming each other and arguing. Mark discovers Beans is dead and informs his mom. The kids tell him no one cares about his stupid frog and he's called Fed Ex again and this makes him mad. He starts crying and runs upstairs while everyone is fighting. Nora runs to help but Ashton stops her and says forget about them. He then admits he hates kids and that's why she's with him because she knows she doesn't want any. She then realizes that's far from the truth and chooses her family. The Oprah Winfrey Show crew witnesses everything and advise the producer (it's never said who they actually spoke with) not to show up because the segment is on a happy family and they're far from that.
Bonnie is checking on all the kids and discover Mark is gone. Everyone goes searching for him, even Nora who suggest her dad check a bus station. He says Mark would never be there, but she relates to him how when she wanted to run away from Midland (their old home) she'd consider taking a bus to Chicago, her favorite place in the world. Steve then recalls Marks drawing of their old home and goes to the bus station. He gets on and find Mark. He tells his dad," You said we'd be closer if we moved here, but everything is worst". They have a heart to heart and the train starts moving. They get off and find the rest of the family is there. Mark runs to his mom and all the other kids say the missed him. He tells them he thought he was Fed Ex. they say though they fight and tease him doesn't mean they don't love him or he doesn't fit in to the family. Then one of the kids say, "Without you we'd be..................eleven".
Steve realizes how important family is and leaves his job. His old high school buddy asks him if this isn't his dream. He says sometimes who find other dreams to follow and if he had took the job he wouldn't ever forgive himself if he messed up raising his kids right. The kids soon find out he left his job and feel bad. Their mom informs them that he's doesn't want them there on his last day and he's making the right decision.
Steve looks around the football field longingly then spots his whole family holding up a sign saying "We Love The Coach". They then run to him and all hug.
There's another narrative with Bonnie's voice. She says 12 is the number of weeks her book was the number 1 bestseller, and the number of jobs Steve didn't take until he found the right one suited for family life.
It's now christmas and everyone is enjoying their meal and getting along. Steve looks around at everyone and takes everything in, he then put a big smile on his face. The camera zooms out to the hallway to this hanging lamp which has been falling throughout the whole movie. Now it's fixed however it falls AGAIN!