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Mrs. Winterbourne

review by Zach B.

 

 

Rating: PG-13 (Some language and brief violence)

Running Time: 106 minutes

Starring: Shirley MacLaine, Ricki Lake, Brendan Fraser, Miguel Sandoval, Loren Dean

Screenplay by: Phoef Sutton and Lisa-Maria Radano
Based on the novel "I Married A Dead Man" by: Cornell Woolrich

Directed by: Richard Benjamin

 

Studio: Columbia/Tri-Star

Retail Price: $24.95

Features: None

Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, 1.33:1 Full Frame, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround, English Subtitles, French Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles, Portuguese Subtitles, Chinese Subtitles, Korean Subtitles, Tahi Subtitles, English Closed Captions, Scene Selections (28 Scenes)

Released: February 12th, 2002

 

 

Nothing like a good, charming romantic comedy, right? "Mrs. Winterbourne" is one of those, and a pretty good one in fact. It's a bit underrated in my opinion. The plot has Connie Doyle (Ricki Lake), an eighteen year old who is looking to find her destiny. Somehow, she finds it with Steve (Loren Dean), a crinimal she meets when she sets out to find herself in New York. She gets pregnant, and in a sad case, Steve wants nothing to do with her. Connie then goes on a train to Boston somewhat accidentally, which then has an accident. On that train is the prosperous Hugh (Brendan Fraser) and Patricia Winterbourne. Connie survives the wreck, and is then assumed to be Patricia. So it's a case of mistaken identity... but Hugh's mother Grace (Shirly MacLaine) takes her in quite kindly as she starts to fall in love with Bill (Brendan Fraser), Hugh's brother. Things finally seem to be going Connie's way... but of course, things go awry when Steve shows up, identities are realized and love is in the air.

I've said it time and time again: I love movies and stories that deal with little twists of fate that make a big impact on our lives. But this one is more about mistaken identity. "Mrs. Winterbourne" is light, breezy and fun. It's not a bad date movie to check out one Saturday night with a loved one, but this one is certainly for a more female demographic. This movie is enjoyable for most ages and both sexes, but I think females will like it a bit more. It can be quite charming and fun to watch actually, but it's pretty predictable. The dialogue and scenarios the characters face are quite interesting, but I must admit some of the dialogue is just plain corny. I've never read the novel which the film is based on, "I Married A Dead Man," so I can't compare the two, but this is a good romantic comedy. Guys may enjoy it. Like I said, it's not something they'd check out on their own, but if they're in for the ride, they'll find something here to enjoy. It moves at a very good pace and has a sensible feel to it thanks to director Richard Benjamin, while the script from the duo of writers does work.

Yet perhaps what also makes "Mrs. Winterbourne" work are the fine performances. Each actors fits his or her persona quite nicely, knowing who they are, what to do and how to play it out. Ricki Lake (yes, the talk show hostess and who used to act more often) is quite good as Connie. She's vulnerable and gets accepted into a life she never expected, and tries to sort it all out and make the most of it. Underrated character actor Loren Dean is great as Steve (wish I'd see him in more roles), while veteran actress Shirley MacClaine is rather superb, warm and witty as Grace Winterbourne. And of course, we have Brendan Fraser, in a usual romantic role that's known for him. Like usual, he's charismatic, goofy and charming. I also enjoyed the breezy score from Patrick Doyle. So if you'd like a decent romantic comedy to check out either by yourself or with someone, "Mrs. Winterbourne" is worth checking out. The film bombed when it originally opened, and hasn't gained much of a life on home video, but maybe it'll get some new fans with this DVD release.

 

Presented in 1.33:1 full frame on one side and 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen on the other, "Mrs. Winterbourne" features rather great transfers. Of course the full frame transfer is cropped, but if you want it, go with it. Otherwise, you'll see more image in the widescreen version. Each transfer has striking colors with strong hues and sharp, accurate fleshtones. There is some very slight edge enhancment, but the transfers look incredibly fine and are very sharp. There can be very slight noise and shimmering, but overall, the print is in great sharp with only a blemish and mark here and there. Enjoy!

 

An English Dolby Digital 5.1 track and French Dolby Surround track are included. The 5.1 track is decent and works for what it is. The film is pretty dialogue heavy, but there are some standout surrounds that are good, but could have used more of a punch. The train wreck, the rain... you get that they are there, but I felt there could have been more to them and deeper .1 LFE use. Dialogue is clean and easy to hear, while other sounds don't overpower them thankfully. Patrick Doyle's score does sound quite nice though. It's fitting, but nothing special. ,

 

Nothing! No bonus trailers even... and I remember seeing the "Mrs. Winterbourne" trailer a few times before it opened, so it makes me wonder.

 

"Mrs. Winterbourne" is a fun, romantic comedy that's sure to please. It's nothing groundbreaking, but sports good performances and can be a nice watch. No extras, but the presentation is nice. Good rental if you've never seen it, but it's a must purchase for diehard fans only.