Reviewed by: Lacey Mical (Callahan) Walker
|Featuring:||Dennis Quaid, Rene Russo, James “Lil’JJ” Lewis, Linda Hunt, George Lopez|
Rock The House! 18 kids. 2 families. 1 force of nature.
Like most high school sweethearts, Frank and Helen broke up, drifted apart, and married other people. Fast-forward twenty five years, they have both been widowed and left with little hope of finding love again when a chance meeting in a restaurant rekindles their fondness for one another.
Helen is a free-spirited fashion designer while Frank is a straight-laced Admiral in the Coast Guard. They are living opposite lives, headed down completely different paths.
But there is one common denominator which makes their inevitable pairing both seemingly impossible and totally irresistible… He has eight children, and she has ten.
Another classic family flick has been resurrected and remodeled in this remake of the 1968 film starring Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball — Yours, Mine, and Ours.
We are introduced to the Beardsley family, a tight ship overseen by strict but soft-hearted Admiral Frank Beardsley (Dennis Quaid) and the North family, many of whom have been adopted from other countries, running amuck and receiving no discipline from their laid-back mother Helen North (Rene Russo).
When Frank and Helen each gather their children in their living rooms to announce that they have eloped, they are met with unyielding resistance from their separate broods. Determined to persevere in their goal to form one family, they purchase a huge lighthouse together, and structure meets chaos as the eighteen children move in.
After the initial clashes of personalities and lifestyles, the Beardsley children and the North kids just want their lives to go back to normal. With this thought in mind they all unite under one bond: “We have a common enemy that is greater, and it’s called ‘Mom and Dad’.”
As the posse of 18 carries out their many schemes against Frank and Helen’s marriage, they forget to dislike each other. But the plan that unwittingly brings their families together could ultimately tear them apart.
This new version deviates in many ways from the original, though the spirit of the film remains the same. Unlike most modern remakes, where plot changes are made in order to add political issues, sex, language, and/or violence to please today’s audiences, I was both surprised and pleased to find that was not true of this film.
Quaid and Russo are believable in their roles and have a chemistry on-screen that helps carry this story as we root for their loving relationship to prevail against the odds. The child actors are not all top-notch performers, but they are cute and amusing enough to draw genuine chuckles throughout the movie. Those who are a part of big families will find a special kinship with the characters as we watch the unique workings of a large, blended family.
The basic morals of the story are excellent. Unselfishness and putting family first are the themes. Unfortunately, the film is not entirely clean.
Sex: Sometime after they are married, there are two scenes in which Frank and Helen are shown in bed kissing. They are both clothed, and there is no gratuitous innuendo.
One of the older girls is caught at school passionately kissing a boy, which she knows will make one of her stepsisters jealous. I found this part of the story to be the most troubling from a moral standpoint, and while it was a minute subplot it is worth noting when considering taking children to see the movie.
Violence: There are no frightening scenes in the film, and only mild, “pie-in-the-face” style situations which children of any age would not find disturbing.
Profanity: Unusually sparse though sadly it is not nonexistent: One mild anatomical term and three religious exclamations.
While syrupy-sweet films of any genre are generally unsatisfying to most audiences, this unabashedly saccharine script is both refreshing and endearing. There are enough wacky, slapstick scenes to draw the audience into viewing it as a humorous fairy tale, and one wants to believe in the story enough that its lack of realism becomes irrelevant.
Although I did see a group of six teenagers get up and leave the theatre halfway through the showing, after hearing the cheers and applause from the audience I believe that this film is received just as it was intended—a light, heart-warming tale for the whole family.
Violence: Minor / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: Mild
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.