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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

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewvideo review
2.  Dragan Antulov read the review movie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

MRS. WINTERBOURE is another one of those mistaken identity films. It is reported to be a remake of NO MAN OF HER OWN (1949) and J'AI EPOUSE UNE OMBRE (1982), but since I have never seen either of these I can not verify this. At any rate, MRS. WINTERBOURE feels like a movie you have seen a hundred times before, and predictability is its middle name.

The set up for the movie is that Connie Doyle (Ricki Lake) gets pregnant by a cliche of an uncaring louse of a boyfriend, Steve (Loren Dean). Steve gets his buddies to claim that they slept with her so he can say that he can not be sure whose kid it is. He then kicks her out into the cold.

One hellish night on a train she meets another equally pregnant woman, Patricia Winterbourne (Susan Haskell) and her husband Hugh (Brendan Fraser). After a train wreck, Connie is mistakenly identified as Patricia Winterbourne since the real Patricia and her husband were killed. This bit of confusion whisks Connie into a life of luxury as the daughter-in-law of super-rich Grace Winterbourne (Shirley MacLaine). Living with Grace is Hugh's twin Bill (Brendan Fraser). The family turns out to be dysfunctional as are almost all rich families in the movies.

Most of the picture is about whether Connie will be found out. What is your guess? Although Bill claims to hate Connie, how do you think their relationship will turn out? Since Steve's son is now super-rich, what do you think Steve will do? See what I mean, you could write the script yourself. The producers did not need to hire Lisa-Marie Radano and Phoef Sutton to craft a script from Cornell Woolrich's book ("I Married a Dead Man").

Actually, the biggest problem with the show is not its predictability nor its believability, both of which are substantial, but the lack of energy. The directing by Richard Benjamin is aimless. The actors float through the movie as if they are all on Sominex. Most of the film is a failed attempt at comedy, but the lines the actors are given are so ineffectual that it is hopeless. Frequently the film relies on sight gags that make little sense and are not particularly funny. Connie, for example, sees the reflection of an upside down crucifix in the baptismal water and somehow this causes her to faint.

After trying comedy in the first part, the story switches to a more serious tone toward the end. The characters begin to show their warm hearts, but the characters are so lifeless that this part works no better than the first. I tried to like this show, but there is so little there that it was not possible for me. I will give it this, it is pretty inoffensive. For people wanting to watch something to fall asleep by, it probably fills the bill.

MRS. WINTERBOURNE runs 1:45. It is rated PG-13 for a little bad language. It would probably fine for kids say 10 and up. I do not recommend it, and I give it * 1/2.

Copyright 1996 Steve Rhodes

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