Judge Joel Pearce is offended by this title's slipshod use of the serial comma.
Our review of Yours, Mine And Ours, published April 2nd, 2001, is also available.
Eighteen kids, one house, no way.
When I used to work at a video store, I would always bring the new releases home the weekend before they came out. This was a chance for me to see them first, so that I could make informed recommendations for my customers. Often, they were films that I had no interest in seeing, so I would skip from scene to scene, trying to get a sense of the movie in a short amount of time. Although I didn't do that with Yours, Mine and Ours, the experience was much the same.
Facts of the Case
Frank (Dennis Quaid, Frequency) is a coast guard Admiral with eight children. He runs a tight ship, and an even tighter house. Organization has become more important since his wife died, leaving him to take care of the children on his own. When he moves back to his home town, he is reunited with free-spirited Helen (Rene Russo, The Thomas Crown Affair), his high school sweetheart and widowed mother of ten (of course, in order to make this a more acceptable family film in 2005, most of them are adopted and represent almost every visible minority in the world). They decide on a whim to get married, which is when the chaos predictably ensues.
Of course, the children don't get along at first. They fight until they realize they need to join forces to get Frank and Helen to split up. Then, they realize that they actually do get along…but I've already given away too much.
To put things in perspective, Yours, Mine and Ours is now sitting at a mind-bogglingly pathetic 6% rating at Rotten Tomatoes. As a film with one foot in the '50s and the other in a can of bright blue paint, it is an unqualified failure. The screenwriters changed all the wrong things about the original yet failed to update the material that needed updating. The result is a dreadful mess that's actually painful to watch. Both protagonists are still widowed, an odd choice in a film about broken families in the new millennium. In fact, the producers have done almost everything possible in order to avoid dealing with important issues. Helen's family is very multicultural, but it's completely external. None of the children need to deal with issues of race. This world is one without lasting consequences of any kind. If paint is spilled all over the house, we immediately cut to a scene of a clean house. Conflicts between characters are solved in moments, and no problems last for longer than three scenes.
Somehow, the humor got lost in the shuffle. Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo too good for this material, and their comedic talent rarely shines through. The kids were poorly cast for the most part. They only elicit a handful of laughs. Most of the humor comes from overused slapstick sequences involving fork lifts, paint, vomit, and porridge. Not even young kids will be entertained by this stinker. The film has one good laugh. It's the only moment that the filmmakers took a risk and poked fun at contemporary issues. The funniest moment on this DVD isn't even part of the movie. No, the biggest laugh is during the featurette on the writing of the film. One of the writers actually says, "I think there should be more movies that the entire family can watch together, and especially make the broad comedy be stuff that really happens…the kind of crazy stuff that really happens in your house." Did they actually watch the film?
I believe as a critic it's important to find something good to say about every film. After all, many people poured their time and effort into the creation of Yours, Mine and Ours. Though it shows consistent ineptitude, the producers did have the wisdom to make it short. If you take off as soon as the credits start rolling, you waste only about 80 minutes of your time.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Although I don't understand why they bothered, Paramount has done a fine job with this release. The film is presented at the 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The image and is pretty much flawless. The sound is strong as well, with clear voices in the center channel, good stereo separation, and a healthy dose of LFE when needed. More baffling is the impressive collection of special features. A few (crappy) deleted scenes are here, including the scene in which the families are introduced, which was an odd thing to cut out.
They coerced director Raja Gosnell (Scooby-Doo) into recording a commentary, and he sounds surprisingly upbeat. Maybe he didn't get the memo that his movie is a disaster. The screenwriters didn't get the memo either, as they grin through the previously mentioned featurette. There are a few production featurettes, which are the usual studio blather. Then, there are a few spots that focus on the casting of the kids. On the off chance that you really enjoy the film, you will be quite happy with this disc.
Don't buy Yours, Mine and Ours. Don't watch Yours, Mine and Ours. Supporting Hollywood studios in this kind of production will only encourage them to puke up more tepid, faux-family-friendly drivel.
Guilty. Yours, Mine and Ours is sentenced to something far too unpleasant to be included in a family-friendly film review.
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