Yours, Mine and Ours

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Yours, Mine and Ours
Review (4/10)
(By Rich Cline)

One of the most uninspired remakes in years, this Cheaper-by-the-Dozening of the 1968 comedy is astoundingly unfunny. The writers and director strain for laughs at every turn, and get nothing.

Single dad Frank Beardsley (Quaid) is a Coast Guard admiral who runs his home with military precision, whipping his eight kids into a fine-running machine as they move from base to base. After moving back to his hometown, Frank runs into his high school flame Helen North (Russo), a hippy-like single earth-mother with 10 kids (six of them adopted from varying ethnicities, natch). Sparks fly and soon the North-Beardsleys are setting up house. But these two very different groups of kids hate each other, and plot together to drive their parents apart.

Gosh, I wonder what's going to happen? Interspersed through one of the most painfully predictably plots in years (which is saying a lot) is a series of resolutely awful comedy set-pieces, all of which involve badly behaving children, yelling parents, a snorting pig, a "hilarious" hamster and usually Quaid plunging into something. We just watch slack-jawed that any filmmaker would dare put this kind of thing on screen; it's like the first rehearsal for the exact same cornball stunts Gosnell used in Home Alone 3 (1997).

Poor Quaid and Russo try bravely to make the most of it, but the lame script defeats them. They generate enough chemistry to make their relationship sweetly believable at the beginning, then look increasingly lost as the film descends into ludicrous, embarrassing farce. The kids are sharp and cute, especially the teens, and manage to make most of them register as human beings with distinct personalities, albeit lifted straight from other slapstick family movies.

The main problem is that there's not a single moment when this film even comes close to touching on real life. It's contrived and banal and never remotely humorous. Unless, that is, you begin to watch it as a spoof, because then the concluding sequences are absolutely hysterical. In a very bad way.

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