Remakes are at a disadvantage because they must at be at least different from the original, if not better. The original Yours, Mine and Ours starred the incomparable Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda and was based on the book by Helen Beardsley, who did indeed have a family of 19. Unsurprisingly, the new version does not live up to its predecessor; however, the movie does not fail because it falls short of the original. Indeed, this new Yours, Mine and Ours is unsuccessful entirely by itself.
When Admiral Frank Beardsley (Dennis Quaid), a widower with eight children, marries his high-school sweetheart Helen North (Rene Russo), a widow with 10 kids, chaos, of course, ensues. In Frank’s immaculate house, every request goes through the Admiral’s office. His disciplined crew consists purely of preppy children, concerned over SAT scores and cheerleading tryouts. Helen’s house, on the other hand, desperately needs to be cleaned, and she is incredibly lenient. Her kids are free spirits encouraged to express themselves; therefore, they are musicians, filmmakers, or interior decorators. Together, the families provide a chilling glimpse into the results of abstinence-only sex education. Once the two collide, the kids hate each other, huge messes are made and the future of the gigantic family is thrown into jeopardy.
Naturally, no suspense or tension exists at any point during the movie. Yours, Mine and Ours is yet another film that plods along the well-beaten path of family comedies. Everyone knows how each conflict will work out, the lessons each flat character will learn, and exactly how the movie will end. Perhaps if the film made the journey down such familiar territory humorous, or at least mildly entertaining, the situation would be different. No such luck.
The movie relies almost exclusively on slapstick to get laughs, and makes ample use of a pet pig as the punch line. A few times the script tries to be witty, but the jokes always fall flat, weighed down by all the effort spent in the telling. A person could exhaust himself trying to find an original joke in the whole movie. All the worn out gags are present: slipping on vomit, getting smacked in the head with a mast, falling face-first in paint and the
classic animal-eats-the-cell-phone gag (yes, it’s the pig). All told, the movie has about one scene that garners a laugh, possibly two if the viewer is a child.
After pondering why nobody bothered to call DCFS on Helen, one notices that Quaid, and especially Russo, appear to be acting in their sleep. Why such well-respected actors would agree to appear in such a film is mind-boggling. The child actors are equally mechanical, although the youngest provide some cute moments and arguably the funniest scene in the movie.
In the end, the movie is predictable and not even slightly entertaining, let alone that it is vastly inferior to its 37-year-old predecessor. The film attempts to update the formula by switching the number of kids, making some of them adopted, and throwing newfangled technology in the mix, but ultimately the movie fails to add anything new. The first prerequisite of a remake should be that it expands, in some way, upon the original. Unfortunately, Yours, Mine and Ours regresses into contrived episodes and hackneyed slapstick.