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Xpress, the Coolest Section of the St. Petersburg Times, is the home for features, news and views of interest to young readers. Most of the work in Xpress, which appears on Mondays in Floridian, is produced by the Times' X-Team. The team of journalists ages 9-17 from around the Tampa Bay area is selected every year at the end of the school year to serve during the following school term. The current team of 12 was chosen out of 150 applicants. Watch for X-Team application forms in Xpress during the month of May.


Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris


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Movie review

Family fun, supersized

By BILLY NORRIS
Published December 29, 2003

Billy Norris
Read the reviews by Xpress Film Critic Billy Norris

Cheaper by the Dozen

Rating: PG (for language and some thematic elements).

Summary: Tom and Kate Baker (Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt) are the parents of 12 children ranging from their 22-year-old daughter (Piper Perabo), who is trying to establish her independence by moving into an apartment with her boyfriend (Ashton Kutcher), to the youngest, a pair of identical 5-year-old twins (Brent and Shane Kinsman), who are quite energetic. Tom gets his dream job coaching the football team at a large university, which is his alma mater. But that means the family must move from their rural Illinois home into an upscale, suburban Chicago neighborhood. The kids are outraged about the move, but Kate remains supportive. As if things weren't chaotic enough, a New York publisher finally picks up a book Kate has written called Cheaper by the Dozen, and expects her to do a nationwide book tour to promote it. That leaves Dad in charge of the kids, the new home and the new team. As you might expect, that is easier said than done.

My View: What a surprise. This was a great movie, one of the better family offerings this year. It was funny throughout. The (rather large) ensemble cast was a perfect blend, especially the kids. The makers of this film can bank on the popularity of its known stars: Martin, Kutcher, Hilary Duff and Tom Welling, but every other supporting cast member added to its overall charm. They depicted this oddball, borderline dysfunctional family in a way that was exaggerated yet realistic. The story, though relatively uncomplicated, was heartwarming and enjoyable. I have nothing negative to report.

Recommendations: Though not quite squeaky clean, this is still a fun family film to catch over the holidays. It will entertain the young ones, the teens, the 'tweens and the parents equally. Don't miss it.

Grade: B+

- Billy Norris, 16, is in the 10th grade at Seminole High School and is a former member of the Times X-Team.

[Last modified December 26, 2003, 10:57:27]

Here's the rest of today's Xpress

  • Xpressions: Dreams and imagination soar

  • Movie review
  • Family fun, supersized
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