Yours, Mine and Ours (PG)
by Amy Diaz
Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo ensure that they’ll never be cast as sex
symbols again with their roles as parents of 18 children in Yours, Mine
and Ours, a remake of a 1960s movie of the same name.
does one couple end up with 18 children? I’m guessing booze and some
serious forgetfulness are usually involved. Or being a member of one of
your more fundamentalist religions during the 1800s. But in the case of
Frank (Quaid) and Helen (Russo) it happens due to death, remarriage and
a seriously lax approach to family planning.
Frank is a by-the-books Coast Guard admiral (his kids even refer to him
as “Admiral” as opposed to, say, “Dad”) who was married, had eight
children and then widowed. Helen is a more free-thinking purse designer
who had four of her own children and then adopted six children of
varying ethnicities before her husband bought the farm. (Not literally
bought the farm, though that would have been helpful, what with all the
Frank and Helen, of course, know nothing about each other’s achievements
in the parent realm and remember only their high school romance. So,
when they meet, they are delighted to see each other and do plenty of
dancing and flirting before dropping the bomb that is the admission that
you have a baseball-team-sized family.
Naturally, with that big thing in common all other issues seem trivial
and Frank and Helen get married and buy a lighthouse where their
collective can live. He brings the order; she brings the decorating
sense. Except that their children don’t like the arrangement at all.
After trying to ace each other out of bathroom time and get the other
family in trouble, all 18 kids come together to work on a common goal:
splitting up the parents.
From there, the scheming of children aged 4 to 17 quickly marches to
friendship forged in battle to familial affection and to a reversal of
situation, with the parents wanting to split and the kids wanting to
stay together. The film is as orderly as a military operation performed
by anal-retentive grunts and led by a punctuality-obsessed sergeant. The
plot, like the German army through Europe, rolls over any potential for
spontaneity, over character development, over humor and over the novelty
(a family big enough to run two four-on-four games and have referees)
that makes the story interesting to begin with. Ironed flat, the movie
just feels like a really long ad for detergent, with occasional examples
of why you might need extra cleaning power.