Saturday, March 18, 2006

Insomniac Movie Review: Yours, Mine & Ours (the remake)

Yours, Mine, & Ours (2005) Starring Dennis Quaid as the Admiral/Dad and Rene Russo as the "free-spirited" (read: modern hippie) Mom, with Rip Torn as the Commandant and Linda Hunt (remember that short little principal in Kindergarten Cop? Yeah, her!) as the family domestic assistant

MPAA Rating: PG

Again I say, Not As Good As The Original.

But then, the original had Lucille Ball. You can't expect just anybody to walk in and fill Lucille's shoes. So it's okay. Also, the original comes off a bit dated now (which it is), so some of the jokes don't seem quite as funny. Also: the original has more focus on the parents and how they relate to each other and the new children. The remake has more focus on the kids, how they get along (or don't) with each other, etc., with parental focus being mainly on differences of opinion about child-rearing and soothing the nerves of their own children (but only the youngest ones).

Do not misunderstand: I did like this movie. It was cute in some places, silly in others, and it's always nice to see children and teenagers feuding in a non-violent way before learning to get along by ganging up on someone else in an equally non-violent way.

Also a plus for the kids: plenty of slapstick humor. Maybe not an adult's idea of smart cinema, but it's still funny to see all the weird stuff that ends up all over Dennis Quaid. Poor guy, I hope he got paid extra for all that. Especially the stuff with the pig. (I'm not even kidding. You'd think actors would say "No, I draw the line," but evidently swine kisses are on this side of Quaid's line.)

Unfortunately, it seems as if parts of the story that should have been left in for flow are left out for time constraints. I understand that; you don't want the movie to drag on and on. But it just seems like...something is missing, I guess. The story suffers for it. And you can feel it in the way the movie is edited. I'd have expected a little better from director Raja Gosnell, but my expectations are higher because I loved Scooby Doo 2 (which he also directed). Then again, I suppose I should blame the editor.

One more complaint: Most directors understand that when filming, it's important to make sure that your leads look beautiful/handsome at all times, unless they're part of a sight gag involving whipped cream or similar. Unfortunately, there is one scene in particular when Rene Russo (who really is a lovely woman), just looks awful. This is especially bad because it is clearly a scene in which she is supposed to look stunning, but the lighting highlights the lines in her face. I suppose it's because the scene was filmed outside (at least I think it was) and direct sunlight is nobody's friend. Still, there are lighting tricks you'd think Raja Gosnell would have pulled out of his hat. Since it is supposed the be this "Big Moment" in the film, in which Admiral Dad falls in love with Hippie Mom, it's kind of important that she look good. (Yeah, you can call me shallow for this. I know it seems that way. But you can learn a thing or two from listening to the director's commentary of Gary Marshall movies, which are always fabulous, and this is one of those things.)

So, other than a few minor complaints, I would say overall that this is a good movie to watch with your family. Also: rent the original (available on Netflix). Very cute, fun movies, both of these. (But really, how can Rene Russo hope to fill Lucy's shoes, even if she does have red hair?)

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