2005 Certificate: pg

Synopsis

Dennis Quaid's disciplinarian dad and Rene Russo's free-spirited widow tie the knot and move into a dilapidated lighthouse with their eighteen children. Cue gallons of goo-fuelled mayhem as the kids seek to split their parents up. A remake of the 1968 comedy, this poor relation to Cheaper By The Dozen is hamfistedly directed by Raja Gosnell, the man to blame for Scooby Doo and Big Momma's House.

Director

  • Raja Gosnell

Cast

  • Dennis Quaid

  • Rene Russo

  • Rip Torn

Review

How could you make Steve Martin's lame Cheaper By The Dozen series look like a work of comic invention, richly-observed farce and a guarantee of split sides?

Well, you make Yours, Mine & Ours, that's how.

Pinching the supersized family template and reworking the 1968 comedy starring Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda, this is a comedy so low on laughs Jim Davidson wouldn't touch it.

Dennis Quaid has the thankless task of playing US Coast Guard admiral Frank Beardsley, a disciplinarian widower with eight children.

On the other side of the behavioural spectrum is hippie chick Rene Russo, whose husband has died leaving her with a brood of ten lively nippers.

(Her svelte figure is explained by the fact she adopted six, lending the script leeway to make them range from a jazz-talkin' homie (Lil' JJ) to a grafitti tagger (Dylan Bell)).

Before you can say "family allowance", the odd couple have tied the knot and the entire clan have moved into a run-down lighthouse on the New England coast.

However, the Beardsleys - disciplined, conservative, stuck-up - are soon at loggerheads with Russo's free-spirited crew of New Age hipsters.

The only way they can resolve this, the kids figure - is to drive a wedge between mum and dad and stage manage their new parents' quickie divorce.

Hoot as the pet family pig munches away on pizza, cackle as a spot of decorating turns into a DIY free-for-all and panic when you can't see the green cinema exit signs.

This really is very poor. Quaid and Russo - both excellent actors given the right role - mug furiously but appear slightly embarrassed to have signed up.

Slapstick setpiece follows slapstick setpiece while the dire dialogue serves up such profundities as "a lighthouse without a light is just a house."

It's enough to make you feel nostalgic for the reign of King Herod.

Tim Evans