Yours, Mine & Ours Review
Frank Beardsley (Dennis Quaid) is a Naval Admiral. He may have lost his wife but that doesn’t stop him running his family on military lines – even if there are eight children. He’s posted near the town where he grew up. At a high school reunion he meets Helen North (Rene Russo), herself recently widowed. Sparks are struck and they decide to marry. However, Helen has four children of her own, and that’s not counting the other six she’s adopted…
This is another example of Hollywood raiding its own back catalogue for inspiration. I haven’t seen the original film from 1968, which starred Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, which turns out to be inspired by a true story. There’s no trace of that in this remake, which first of all founders on the fact that you can’t easily transplant this film’s premise to the 21st Century. I can just about accept that someone might be a prolific foster mother: Mia Farrow is a well-known modern-day example. But Mia Farrow is a film star. Helen North designs handbags. Where’s the money coming from? And as for Frank’s family, eight natural-born children belongs to pre-Pill days. And that’s eight without the slightest signs of dysfunction. In large families – and my mother was one of thirteen, so I am in a position to comment – often the older children (and to be more specific, the older daughters) get to bring up the younger ones. No sign of that here, though there is a nanny (Linda Hunt, wasted).
The film’s production design plays off Frank’s anal-retentiveness with Helen’s free-and-easy Earth-motherliness, but that’s as subtle as this film gets. Raja Gosnell’s direction (he was at the helm of both Scooby Doo movies) is bland and obvious throughout. Undemanding children may like this, but adults should be prepared to sit through it without changing their expression. At least the film is short.