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
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