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DVD Review: Yours, Mine and Ours

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Yours, Mine and Ours didn’t need to be remade in the first place but nonetheless has been; it’s a cute family film that unfortunately pales in comparison to the original 1968 version starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda.

The Film
A widowed Coast Guard Admiral who likes order and a tight ship falls in love and marries a free-spirited widow handbag designer, much to the dismay of her 10 and his 8 children.

Unlike the original, the two parents have met before and were in fact high school sweethearts, which helps explains their hasty marriage a bit better in today’s world. The new version also tries to explain the fact that Rene Russo’s character has 10 children and still looks the way she does by having several of her children adopted from foster care, thus adding another new element to the film, diversity, and more mismatched children.

Basically like the recent remake of Cheaper by the Dozen, Yours, Mine and Ours is another “too many out-of-control children in one big loving home” story. Whereas the original focused on both the parents’ love, and the children-trying-to-like-each-other stories effectively, this film only dabbles in both and fails to create a whole package, instead relying on slapstick and child high-jinx for humor. It’s important to note that the movie is produced by Nickelodeon, thus the focus on the kids.

Another twist is that the children from both sides of the family work together to try to break up their parents in order to go back to their own households, but predictably form alliances in the process. The children are all, of course, adorable and good child actors — I was pretty impressed with that part actually — and Rene Russo and Dennis Quaid can and have done anything, so it’s not surprising that they were good in their roles. However they were only “good” and could have been much better. This could be due to the fact that the film focused more heavily on the children than their relationship and character development. I was expecting the more charming Dennis Quaid, whom we saw in yet another family film remake, The Parent Trap, instead he just reacts and flounders in this film much like Steve Martin in Cheaper By The Dozen. The film also fails to explain Rene Russo’s free-spirited character very well.

The Extras
I was very surprised to see so many special features on this disc; in fact, there are so many that you have to click ‘more’ to see the complete list, which has a commentary by director Raja Gosnell, featurettes such as “Yours, Mine & Ours – Inside the Lighthouse,” “18 Kids – One Script: The Writing of Yours, Mine & Ours,” “Your Big Break! – Advice for Aspiring Young Actors,” “Setting Sail with the Coast Guard,” and a behind the scenes Video Diary. Plus two theatrical trailers, deleted scenes and two casting videos.

I especially liked the two separate featurettes on “Casting the North Family” and “Casting the Beardsley Family,” which included a discussion with the casting director on the process for choosing each child actor and thoughts on each actor’s talents and contributions.

There are two deleted scenes with the optional director commentary. One scene the hit the cutting room floor better explains the parents’ relationship and shows the marriage proposal. The other deleted scene first shows the families meeting each other. I liked both scenes and thought if included it would have helped make the film less choppy-feeling and thrown-together. They were probably removed to improve the run time, but I’d rather have seen these two scenes than some of the many Cheaper by the Dozen child antics. I especially could have done without the one near the end when the kids form a human chain out a window in order to hold on to a computer – it was pointless and we were already shown on numerous occasions what trouble they were capable of.

The Delivery
The DVD is available in both 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen format and Full Screen 1.33:1 editions. The audio tracks come in English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround), and French (Dolby Digital 5.1). The DVD also includes English and Spanish subtitles.

The Final Cut

In the end this film comes off as more of a Cheaper by The Dozen remake instead of a Yours, Mine and Ours remake. In fact, it never touches on the “ours” part, since they do not end up having a child together as in the original. However, this remake is cute fluff just like Cheaper by The Dozen and kids and parents are sure to enjoy this film, but more than likely they will not find it as charming as the original.

The Upside:
It’s a cute family picture with good leading stars and features an energetic and enthusiastic plot and feel. Ideal for a rental.

The Downside:
Corny at times and hectic, due to the many scenes in which the film tries to do slapstick and fails. (How many times can Dennis Quaid get his face covered with paint or slime and it be funny? You be the judge, for me it’s zero.)

On the Side:
The band playing in the movie during the house party scene is a Christian alternative rock band called Hawk Nelson.

Making the Grade:
The Film: C
The Delivery: C+
The Extras: A
Overall: C+

By Tara Settembre, a Staff Writer for Film School Rejects

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