Splitting Heirs

1993 Directed by Robert Young. Starring Eric Idle, Rick Moranis, Barbara Hershey, John Cleese.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., May 7, 1993

Splitting Heirs starts with a truly awful title pun and goes downhill from there, proving once again that Michael Palin is really the only Python worth watching these days. Idle (who is also responsible for writing this mess) stars as the unwitting heir to a British dukedom who was misplaced shortly after birth and was consequently raised by a Pakistani family in working class Southall. Idle's new American boss, Moranis, has inherited the birthright instead, and once Idle's bumbling character discovers this, he'll stop at nothing to regain his rightful title. Deja-vu, anyone? From this quagmire of cinematic clichés emerges a truly unfunny British comedy of social mores that's so predictable in its plotting, I knew exactly what was going to happen years before I'd even heard of the film. Reuniting Python alumni Cleese and Idle may have seemed like a fine idea at the time, but their bits together lack the spontaneity of former pairings -- the rhythm is off, and they never really spark up the old loopiness like they should. Token Yank Moranis seems strangely miscast, almost as though he wandered in out of another film and decided to make a few bucks on the sly. Rollerblading in and out of scenes (oh, those silly Americans!), Moranis is an inconsequential guy in an even more inconsequential movie. Robert Young (purposely?) keeps his direction muddled and simplistic -- the best gags are throwaways to begin with and even those elicit little more than a polite chuckle. Only Barbara Hershey -- as a gorgeous, opportunistic bitch -- manages to sink her teeth into your memory. Everything else pales beside the inviting thought of seeing something, anything, else.

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Splitting Heirs, Robert Young, Eric Idle, Rick Moranis, Barbara Hershey, John Cleese

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