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Mrs. Winterbourne

movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Mrs. Winterbourne

Starring: Ricki Lake, Shirley MacLaine
Director: Richard Benjamin
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 106 Minutes
Release Date: April 1996
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Brendan Fraser, Loren Dean, Miguel Sandoval, Paula Prentiss, Susan Haskell, Peter Gerety

Review by Dragan Antulov
1 star out of 4

In 1990s Hollywood movies used to come in pairs - two movies about Christopher Columbus, two movies about gunfight at O.K. Corral, two movies about volcano, two movies about asteroids hitting Earth etc. In 1996 another such pair was created. Following the success of WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING, former actor Richard Benjmain directed MRS. WINTERBOURNE, romantic comedy based around Cinderella plot.

The plot is actually based on the novel by Cornel Woolrich, adapted for screen twice before (in 1950 as NO MAN OF HER OWN and in 1982 as J'AI EPOUSE UNE OMBRE). Protagonist is Connie Doyle (played by Ricki Lake), young woman who has just been dumped by her boyfriend, small-time criminal Steve De Cunzo (played by Loren Dean), despite carrying his child. Pregnant and desperate, she aimlessly wonders the streets before boarding the train where she meets Patricia Winterbourne (played by Susan Haskell), another pregnant woman who travels with her husband Hugh (played by Brendan Fraser). A terrible train crash occurs, Winterbournes are both killed and Connie later wakes up in hospital to find that she is mistaken for the deceased woman. It turns out that Hugh Winterbourne has been an heir of wealthy Grace Winterbourne (played by Shirley Maclaine), who never met his son's wife. Connie decides to continue with this charade, while Hugh's twin brother Bill (played by Brendan Fraser) becomes increasingly suspicious.

MRS. WINTERBOURNE is just like an average Hollywood romantic comedy these days - full of cliches, burdened with completely predictable plot and, for the most part, not funny. On the other hand, it is refreshing to see veterans like Shirley Maclaine trying their best to recreate magic of Old Hollywood screwball comedies; even Brendan Fraser makes decent job of impersonating Cary Grant. The most entertaining role in MRS. WINTERBOURNE, at least for the author of this review, belongs to Ricki Lake. It was quite amusing to compare her body proportions in this movie with those I remembered from her role in John Waters' HAIRSPRAY - seeing Ricki Lake after such radical make-over was at times surreal. But this is probably due to a fact that I hadn't seen much of ever since appearance in Waters' film. The other viewers, especially those who got accustomed to her new career of talk show host, won't find this film that interesting.

Copyright 2003 Dragan Antulov

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