Directed by Raja Gosnell, starring Rene Russo, Dennis Quaid, Linda Hunt and numerous children.

'Yours, Mine & Ours' is a remake of the 1968 Lucille Ball-Henry Fonda comedy of the same name which, in turn, was based on a true story. One would hope that both the earlier film and the autobiography that it was based on - 'Who Gets the Drumsticks?' by Helen North Beardsley - were more interesting than this sloppy modern-day take on events.

Frank Beardsley (Quaid), an admiral in the Coast Guard and a widower, runs a tight ship with his eight obedient and well-behaved children. After a move to his hometown, New London, Connecticut he runs into high school sweetheart Helen North (Russo). Helen, also recently widowed, is a daffy handbag designer with a similarly large brood of 10, four of her own and six (very politically correct) adoptees. Within minutes of meeting, this demented couple rekindle their old relationship, get married, and buy an old lighthouse - the only building on the eastern seaboard that can contain a family of 20, an army issue housekeeper (Hunt) and a potbellied pig who likes to eat at the table.

The parents might be happy but the kids - who, predictably, hate each other on first sight - certainly aren't. Faced with the Admiral's strict schedules and well-planned charts, the North children are unimpressed. "Mom gets married, we get drafted," is the general consensus, while the Beardsleys have problems adjusting to Helen's more free-spirited lifestyle. Rather than deciding to make the best of the situation - where's the fun in that for a trapped cinema audience, rapidly tiring of such a stale plot? - all 18 children band together to break up the marriage.

Dennis Quaid has charm aplenty but, without suitable material, he's lost - especially when director Raja Gosnell's (both 'Scooby Doo' movies, 'Big Mamma's House') idea of comedy is just a series of messy Quaid-centred pratfalls involving paint, food and other kinds of goo. Always sexy, Rene Russo is both an attractive and convincing mother although she is a little straight for a part that demands kookiness. With six more than 'Cheaper by the Dozen', the litter of kids blur into anonymity - the audience will neither care for their plight nor be amused by their antics.

A predictable, lazily-scripted and poorly-directed mess of a film.

Caroline Hennessy