YOURS, MINE AND THE BEAVER'S @ 24 July 2010 10:19 PM

They were on sale at Big Lots, so we got DVDs of two remakes.

One was the newer version of Yours, Mine and Ours that recast Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda with Rene Russo and Dennis Quaid. Ironically, even though the 1968 version starred two iconic legends, the remake seemed more farfetched and broad.

Dennis Quaid played a higher ranking officer who still had plenty of time for his kids and Rene Russo appeared as a quintessential successful businesswoman who also balanced a lot of time bonding with her kids and a talking stick -- and looked fantabulous.

In the original, Henry Fonda played a career military man who had little time for his family until his wife's death forced him to get to know his somewhat resentful children and Lucille Ball played a military nurse. So much for the "phoney, fakey Hollywood" of yesterday as opposed to the "more relatable, honest Hollywood" of today.

That said, even though it did not compare favorably overall to the original, the new Yours Mine and Ours was entertaining.

The 1997 remake of Leave it to Beaver, now largely forgotten while the original series lives on, was just okay. Clearly produced under conflicting circumstances, there was a lot of valiant effort to reproduce the wit of the series. Everyone tried hard, but it felt that, behind the scenes  of the film, there was a "classic" camp and a "contemporary' camp at work, very much at odds with each other.

The film went for a retro look, right down to the title in cement, Wally and Beaver walking home over the end credits, vintage cars and June Cleaver's dresses (which were kind of a caricature here), while there was lots of language that you just wouldn't hear in the Cleaver household. It's as if it was forced in, and maybe it was. There was a talented cast, but just not making the magic -- and how can you -- of the marvelous original.

It sure is hard to capture lightning in a bottle -- again and again.

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