While there are many well-behaved children out there, a lot of people complain that some parents these days let their kids run free in public and that kids don't have the kind of manners they used to. In the case of the Taste of Heaven cafe in Chicago, there's been a lot of press and debate (more than the owner probably expected) about a sign in the restaurant that advises children to behave while dining.
"Yours, Mine and Ours", which is a remake of a 1968 film I've never seen, comes not long after the moderately successful "Cheaper by the Dozen" remake and entered theaters not long before the second "Dozen". However, while "Dozen" wasn't anything to write home about, "Yours" doesn't even reach those heights.
The feature stars Dennis Quaid as Frank, a Coast Guard admiral whose wife has recently passed. He has eight children to take care of and, at a high school reunion, runs into old flame Helen (Rene Russo), who has ten children of her own. The two realize that they're still in love with each other and, in the space of what literally seems like about two minutes, are getting married.
Not surprisingly, the kids don't exactly take well to the idea, and, when they're not fighting with one another, they're coming up with ways to try and break the two adults up. The whole group of 20 moves into a stunningly cool old lighthouse that looks like it would cost a fortune, which really doesn't matter, since it only serves as a larger stage for the kids (as well as a load of animals) to be destructive.
"Cheaper" may not have been a great movie, but at least the kids were slightly defined characters. Here, the 18 kids are uniformly brats, and the movie thinks its cute when they wreck the house and make a scene in public. The film isn't exactly going to win over the hearts of dentists, either: an entire scene is devoted to kids running around wildly and taking from giant piles of junkfood.
You may be wondering when I'll get to the discussion of the plot, but I already have. The entire 87-minute running time is, quite honestly, devoted to the kids running around being loud and the parents trying - and failing - to get them to behave. A couple of side stories about the older kids are offered, but are such an afterthought that they seem like filler. Quaid and Russo struggle to rise above the rest of the feature, but they don't quite manage it.
There's really nothing much to recommend here, as there's little in the way of plot and the humor is made up entirely of tired slapstick (I haven't even mentioned the abundance of "wacky" sound effects that underline the gags.) Here's a movie where the kids are destructive (and there doesn't really seem like there's ever much in the way of consequences), the parents rush into marriage and then don't handle it well and yet - all the sudden - we get a happy, incredibly sappy ending. I can only hope Raja Gosnell ("Scooby Doo") is never allowed to direct again.
VIDEO: "Yours, Mine and Ours" is presented by Paramount in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Sharpness and detail are generally quite good, as - aside from a couple of minor moments - the picture looked crisp and well-defined. Some very light edge enhancement was spotted in a few scenes, but these concerns were slight and didn't cause much concern. Colors appeared bright and vivid, with no smearing or other faults.
SOUND: "Yours, Mine and Ours" is presented by Paramount in Dolby Digital 5.1. The audio presentation is a "comedy" mix, with not much in the way of surround use. Dialogue-driven with occasional touches of score (and a lot of over-emphasized sound effects), the overall audio is pretty tame. Dialogue, music and effects seemed crisp and well-recorded.
EXTRAS: Commentary by director Raja Gosnell, deleted scenes with optional commentary, a behind-the-scenes video diary, "Inside the Lighthouse", "18 Kids, 1 Script", "Casting the North Family", "Casting the Beardsley Family", "Setting Sail with the Coast Guard" and "Your Big Break: Advice for Aspiring Young Actors".
Final Thoughts: I like Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo, but this is a largely painful and uneventful remake whose plot is essentially a giant bunch of kids acting destructive. Although I didn't like the film, the DVD presentation is quite nice, with very good audio/video quality and a decent set of supplements.
The Film D+