Directed by Shawn Levy, starring Steve Martin, Bonnie Hunt, Hilary Duff, Tom Welling, Piper Perabo and Kevin Schmidt.

Kids, as this film propounds, may be cheaper by the dozen but, after spending 90 minutes observing Steve Martin's lot, who would want 'em? A variation on a film from 1950 (the title remains, but not much else), 'Cheaper by the Dozen' is basically 'The Brady Bunch' gone mad, with a few more ankle-biters.

Martin plays Tom Baker, football coach to a third division team in the countryside and father to the aforementioned 12 children. Offered the chance to coach a first division team at his alma mater, he and wife Kate (the frequently underused but ever-watchable Hunt) pack up their unruly brood and head off to the big city. But, surprise surprise, things don't run smoothly. Kate's first book - on bringing up 12 children - hits the shops and she's needed on the publicity circuit. Dad sends her off and stays home to try and balance his new high-powered career with bringing up the sprogs. Cue slapstick of a kind that will have most under-tens chortling away but is likely to leave the rest of the audience cold.

Order, and a sickly-sweet group-hug Christmas ending, is only restored when Tom gives up his dream job and Kate abandons the book tour. Sure, you may not be able to have it all - parents should sacrifice all their dreams for the good of their offspring and father-only parenting will always result in chaos, evidentially - but 'Cheaper by the Dozen' is riddled with schmaltz and sentimentality. Worse still, it's not even funny.

In a cast that includes 'Lizzie McGuire's Hilary Duff (still playing the same role), 'Smallville's Tom Welling and Piper Perabo from 'Coyote Ugly', Forest Landis, in his big screen debut as the frog-loving misfit Mark is standout. Otherwise, the kids, many of whom appear to be the same age, start merging together pretty quick. In an uncredited role as Perabo's vain actor/model boyfriend, Ashton Kutcher gets some of the few laughs, especially when he claims to be "not that good of an actor".

It's not as up front as Kutcher, but 'Cheaper by the Dozen' is not that good of a film either. And you might want to start rethinking your method of contraception...

Caroline Hennessy