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 V.14 No.47 | November 24 - 30, 2005 

Film Review

Yours, Mine and Ours

Hijinks ensue in a house full of kids. (Wacky hijinks, mind you.)

The family that bunks together blows chunks together.
The family that bunks together blows chunks together.

Yours, Mine and Ours

Directed by Raja Gosnell

Cast: Randy Quaid, Rene Russo

Following Hollywood's current trend of repetition and regurgitation, Yours, Mine and Ours is a remake of an obscure 1968 Lucille Ball vehicle which most people have never heard of and were not, therefore, clamoring for a remake of.

Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo are the B-listers recruited to star in this allegedly harmless family comedy. (From the director of Home Alone 3 and Big Momma's House!) Quaid plays Frank Beardsley, an anal retentive admiral with eight well-dressed, rigidly disciplined children. Russo plays Helen North, a bohemian artist with 10 crazy, multiethnic adopted kids. As fate would have it, they're both widows. Wouldn't it just be wacky if these two got married? Unfortunately, that's exactly what happens.

I'm pretty sure this concept was all worked out by some movie studio accountant. Mathematically speaking, Yours, Mine and Ours should be 50 percent funnier than Cheaper By the Dozen and a full 200 percent funnier than “The Brady Bunch.” It isn't.

Believe it or not, the film's script is actually based on a true story. Frank Beardsley and Helen North did have 18 kids between them and did get married. But that's pretty much where the similarity ends. Not merely content to hammer its main joke (namely, a house filled with 20 people), Y,M&O invents even more wacky conflict. In reality, Helen North was a military nurse working on the naval base where Frank Beardsley was assigned. That's too easy, though, so the movie version of Helen North is a nutty artist who designs weird handbags and has a pet pig. In the movie version, his household is shipshape, while her house is run like a hippie commune. Imagine the hijinks that could ensue from this mismatched union.

If you're picturing the slapstick equivalent of a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup (“You got your wackiness in my shenanigans!” “Well, you got your shenanigans in my wackiness!”), then your imagination is right on target. Throughout the course of the film, characters get bonked on the head, slip in paint (and/or puke), tumble into random vats of slime (and/or puke), get splashed with water and fall right on their butts (Ha, ha--their butts!) with lawsuit-launching regularity. Oh, but it has a charming lesson about how families love each other or some other greeting card-worthy sentiment at the end. Awwww.

Yours, Mine and Ours is the cinematic equivalent of spending an afternoon hanging out with your grandparents' friends at a church picnic discussing favorite punchlines from “Family Circus.” Make no mistake: There are those who will adore this film for its sweet, good-natured story and lack of “swears.” Personally speaking, sweet and good-natured humor jabs at my gag reflex like a tongue depressor.

Relying on unending slips, falls, splats and bonks (not to mention a crazy belching pig!) for its humor content, and milking the “awwww, cute” factor like a dozen “very special” episodes of “Full House,” Yours, Mine and Ours is enough to rot the teeth and melt the brain of most audience members. But, if you're Mormon and watch Nickelodeon all day, I guess it's an enjoyable enough way to get yourself 88 minutes closer to dying and going to Heaven.

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