Movies

A Family Blended Down to Puree

Rene Russo, left, and Dennis Quaid, right, blend their broods and pets in the yawningly familiar
Rene Russo, left, and Dennis Quaid, right, blend their broods and pets in the yawningly familiar "Yours, Mine & Ours." (Paramount Studios Via Reuters)

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By Desson Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 23, 2005

MEMORANDUM, Nov. 23, 2005

TO: Executives, production and marketing personnel, Paramount Pictures.

FROM: CGCS -- Inhouse.

Hello, everyone!

As many of you know, we at Paramount's CGCS department (Computer Generated Creativity Systems) have spent the past three years working on a top-secret project to maximize efficiency. Our 10-year study (see Attachment A) concluded that greater profits could be realized by eliminating such "above the line" and "below the line" talent as producers, directors, production crew and, yes, even actors. We also sought ways to solve the problem of screenwriters, whose time-consuming activity (writing) tends to slow the creative process.

So for the first time in our proud history, we have made a movie that is entirely computer generated . You can see the evidence for yourselves with today's release of "Yours, Mine & Ours," starring Dennis Quaid and Rene Russo.

By all appearances, this is a wholesome PG comedy. Its message, about the blending of two families, will appeal to many Americans experiencing similar situations. (See Attachment B: American Divorce and Remarriage)

But the truth is, "Yours, Mine & Ours" has been entirely purged of PP, or People Presence. Quaid (see Attachment C: Hologram Representations) plays Frank Beardsley, a Coast Guard officer, widower and loving father of eight children. At a high school reunion, Frank meets and falls back in love with former sweetheart Helen North (Russo), who has 10 children (six adopted) and, like Frank, is widowed.

When Frank and Helen impulsively get married, parenting systems collide: Frank must tolerate a family that regularly employs the group hug; Helen has to contend with inspection parades. The children are the unhappiest, eventually conspiring to undermine both parents with underhanded sabotage such as filling the fridge with raw meat to gross out Helen and holding wild parties to infuriate Frank. Of course, the children learn to collaborate and find they're really not so unhappy after all (see Attachment D: Predictably Happy Endings and Profits).

Why did we choose this project? What appealed to us was the movie's magnificent averageness. (For the plot we synthesized three works: The 1965 book "Who Gets the Drumstick?" by the real Helen Beardsley, which inspired a 1968 movie starring Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, as well as "The Brady Bunch" TV show.) The storyline is so familiar ("Cheaper by the Dozen" et al), the audience can practically call out scenes ahead of time. The characters are kept simple, completely one-dimensional.

Incidentally, we'd like to thank Raja Gosnell, who graciously lent his name to the proceedings as "director." We remember his work for "Home Alone 3," "Big Momma's House" and both "Scooby Doo" movies so fondly.

Enjoy the show ;)

Yours, Mine & Ours (88 minutes, at area theaters) is rated PG for some mild crude humor.


© 2005 The Washington Post Company

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