Frank Gilbreth Jr. and his sister Ernestine once wrote a book about life in the early 1900s with their father, a world-famous efficiency expert. Oddly, the credits of this movie call their memoir a “novel”—probably to justify the movie’s own fiction, scrapping everything but the title, updating it and turning it into a horrible retread of Daddy Day Care
. Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt, reliable pros though they are, don’t stand a chance against the forces arrayed against them: the bald clichés, unspeakable dialogue and cheap sentimentality of the script (by Sam Harper, Joel Cohen, Alec Sokolow and Craig Titley); the coarse direction of Shawn Levy, who seems to make bad movies almost on principle (Just Married
and Big Fat Liar
); and a gang of unappealing child actors straight from Central Casting.