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It's not all together here

The clunky shenanigans of 18 kids overshadow the fine chemistry between Rene Russo and Dennis Quaid in 'Yours, Mine & Ours.'

November 23, 2005|Kevin Thomas | Times Staff Writer

In the early '60s a Navy widow named Helen North and a Navy warrant officer, Frank Beardsley, a widower, made headlines when they were married in the mission at Carmel because between them they had 18 children. Their story inspired the delightful and surprisingly sophisticated 1968 comedy "Yours, Mine and Ours," starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda. It was expertly directed by comedy veteran Melville Shavelson from a script he wrote with Mort Lachman from a story by "I Love Lucy" stalwarts Madelyn Davis and Bob Carroll Jr.

Now it has been remade with Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo, whose terrific chemistry and credible relationship are vitiated by Ron Burch and David Kidd's crude, overly broad reworking of the plot to highlight clunky, blatantly contrived knockabout comedy sequences involving the nonstop shenanigans of the 18 kids. Except for those moments when Quaid and Russo have the screen to themselves, the film is weighed down by the heavy hand of Raja Gosnell's direction. Whereas in the original film there was the sense that the humor grew out of real-life situations, the laughs the filmmakers so stridently strive for in the remake are almost invariably triggered by grossly exaggerated and unbelievable situations.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday November 29, 2005 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 76 words Type of Material: Correction
"Yours, Mine & Ours" -- The movie review of "Yours, Mine & Ours" in Wednesday's Calendar section described Dennis Quaid's character as an admiral who moves to New London, Conn., where he is to become the head of its naval academy. Although the real-life man on whom Quaid's character is based was in the Navy, in the movie version he is in the Coast Guard; New London is the home of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

"Yours, Mine & Ours" has Quaid's Adm. Beardsley moving his eight children to his native New London, Conn., where he is to become head of its naval academy. At a 30th high school reunion he runs into Russo's Helen North, his high school sweetheart.

Not only is the spark instantly rekindled between them, but also they swiftly realize that a widower with eight children and a widow with 10 -- six of them adopted -- are likely to understand and accept each other. Impulsively they elope, much to the surprise and consternation of their children, who do not mesh well. Frank is a loving parent but runs his home like a ship, whereas Helen is a great believer in free expression.

Eventually, the warring Beardsley and the North offspring see the wisdom of joining forces to break up their parents' marriage only to discover that they like each other after all.

Synthetic, strained and noisy, "Yours, Mine & Ours" is a clinker that doesn't bear comparison with the original. Quaid, Russo and others deserve better.


'Yours, Mine & Ours'

MPAA rating: PG for some mild crude humor

Times guidelines: Suitable family fare

A Paramount Pictures and MGM and Nickelodeon Movies and Columbia Pictures presentation. Director Raja Gosnell. Producers Robert Simonds, Michael Nathanson. Screenplay Ron Burch and David Kidd. Cinematographer Theo Van de Sande. Editors Stephen A. Rotter, Bruce Green. Music Christophe Beck. Costumes Marie-Sylvie Deveau. Production designer Linda DeScenna. Art director Jim Nezda. Set decorators Kelly Berry, Ric McElvin. Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes.

In general release.

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