Thursday, December 22, 2005

Yours, Mine and Ours

YOURS, MINE AND OURS (Raja Gosnell, 2005)

Differing parental philosophies, not to mention eighteen kids, clash in a newly fused family in YOURS, MINE AND OURS. Former high school sweethearts Frank Beardsley and Helen North (Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo) are single parents who choose to merge their two broods. The widowed Coast Guard admiral and the widow designer rekindle their relationship at a class reunion and get married in no time flat. Frank has eight kids, Helen has ten, and a lighthouse is the only place that can accommodate such a large family. The kids don’t get along and object to the union. They find common ground in their goal of breaking up Frank and Helen.

A suburban nightmare of screaming, scheming children, YOURS, MINE AND OURS can make the stoutest adults abandon thoughts of becoming parents. The kids, a largely anonymous gaggle of types, engage in the usual antics associated with enormous movie families. It’s safe to say that there will be much wanton destruction--at least one scene must focus on mealtime—as if Frank and Helen are raising feral children.

Even if it is a dramatic convenience, the filmmakers wisely pair up Frank and Helen in a pinch. There’s no need to stretch out the question of whether they’ll get together; however, with little foundation established for their relationship, except for having dated in high school, there’s nothing to make us believe they’re being anything but recklessly spontaneous. Nevertheless, there’s little conflict in the story. Sure, there’s friction between the shipshape, military-disciplined Beardsley clan and the free-spirited North side of the family, but it’s all strictly boilerplate. The kids aren’t adorable, even rambunctiously so, and the parents are dim bulbs who don’t consider what they’ve done or comprehend what’s happening.

Grade: D

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