Yours, Mine and Ours (2005) / Comedy-Family
MPAA Rated: PG for some mild crude humor
Running Time: 88 min.
Cast: Dennis Quaid, Rene Russo, Sean Faris, Danielle Panabaker, Rip Torn, Katija Pevec, Dean Collins, Linda Hunt, Tyler Patrick Jones, Haley Ramm, Jerry O'Connell, Brecken Palmer, Bridger Palmer, Ty Panitz, David Koechner, Drake Bell, Miki Ishikawa, Slade Pearce, Lil' JJ, Miranda Cosgrove, Andrew Vo, Jennifer Habib, Jessica Habib, Nicholas Roget-King
Director: Raja Gosnell
Screenplay: Ron Burch, David Kidd (based on the 1968 movie)
Review published February 17, 2008
A remake of the 1968 family film starring Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, Yours Mine and Ours is basically about five minutes of plot points padded out with individual scenes of child misbehavior and/or adorable cuteness until its mercifully short running length expires. Coming out not long after the very similar Cheaper by the Dozen remake, this retread has more kids, but just as few legitimate laughs.
Dennis Quaid (Flight of the Phoenix, In Good Company) stars as Coast Guard Admiral Frank Beardsley, a widowed father of eight kids, finding it difficult to find another mate after the love he still holds for his dear departed, not to mention a woman willing to care for so many children while he remains married to his career. He ultimately meets his soul mate when he runs into an old high school girlfriend with whom he had a serious romance that fell through, Helen North (Russo, Two for the Money), and knows it must be meant to be when she has ten children of her own (4 hers and 6 adopted). The kids all protest the union, especially as the parents are completely different, Frank being a conservative disciplinarian and Helen being a free-spirited artist who refuses to adhere to set rules. Though the two are in love, the kids can't stand the situation, so they form a tenuous truce in order to conspire to break the marriage apart.
Being that Yours Mine and Ours is strictly a commercial venture to try to appeal to family film dollars at a time when kids and parents have their days off and are looking for something to watch together, I suppose you could do worse than subject yourself to the innocuous appeal of a traditional all-ages comedy, especially if you need something that both Grandma and baby JoJo will delight in. It's not unpleasant as far as movies go, but it surely isn't very distinct in its own genre, as you've seen dozens of examples of family movies where two single parents must get the kids to get along before they can finally coexist as a whole family. In short, the movie is a safe and calculated product, and therefore barely merits analysis as a movie except to state that it starts, it ends, and no one is likely to be offended, save anyone looking for a motion picture of creative merit.
You know where it's going from the get-go, as the tough-as-nails Admiral will eventually soften up, while the kids will find that once they are united for a common cause that they find a lot to like in one another. Interesting that the lesson learned by the kids is that they will only stick together out of selfishness (i.e. who cares what Mom and Dad think?), and that as long as its the kids desire, a marriage between adults should take place. When the parents are together, the kids want them apart. How offensive is it that the 6 adopted children would conspire against the chance at happiness for the woman that, out of the goodness and generosity of her own heart, gives them food, clothing and shelter, asking for nothing in return? When the parents decide maybe they aren't meant to be together after all, the kids need to coerce them back into love. While it would be nice to see a marriage built on a love that knows no bounds, the one in Yours Mine and Ours is built merely on convenience, staying together because it's easiest, or breaking apart when staying together looks like it's going to be too hard to do.
Just as the marriage goes, so does the movie, willing to cater to the whims of an audience who would rather see kids act bratty for 90 minutes if only it means that Mom and Dad can finally be justified in the end by a reunion. You've seen it before, you'll see it again. Unless you yearn to see the same plot rehashed with Russo and Quaid's faces in front of the screen, I can't imagine why you'd bother throwing an hour and a half of life away instead of putting on an old favorite, or at the very least, waiting for the inevitable next instance of the same plot, hopefully done with some modicum of originality to justify time and money spent.
©2008 Vince Leo