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Connie Doyle is eighteen and pregnant when her boyfriend kicks her out. She accidentally ends up on a train where she meets Hugh Winterbourne and his wife Patricia who is pregnant. The train wrecks and she wakes up in the hospital to find out that it's been assumed that she's Patricia. Hugh's mother takes her in and she falls in love with Hugh's brother Bill. Just when she thinks everything is going her way, her ex-boyfriend shows up. Written by
Shannon Andrews <Shannon.B.Andrews@m.cc.utah.edu>
Fraser and MacLaine make 'Mrs. Winterbourne' watchable.
'Mrs. Winterbourne' is a highly improbable take on the Cinderella "rags to riches" story about 18 year-old Connie Doyle (Ricki Lake), who finds herself enceinte, unmarried, and homeless. Her criminal rat of a boyfriend, Steve DeCunzo (Loren Dean), wants nothing to do with her or the baby. But fate has a better future in store for Connie, and the heavily pregnant girl finds herself, almost miraculously, on a train bound for Boston from New York. There she shares a compartment with a young married couple, Hugh and Patricia Winterbourne (Susan Haskell and Brendan Fraser), who are also expecting a little bundle of joy. But one little innocent action, followed by one horrifying accident, lands Connie in the hospital, mistaken for Patricia Winterbourne. She and her baby, who survived, are both whisked off to the massive Winterbourne estate in Boston. Connie decides to carry on the charade (it's almost ironic that her her name is Connie, since she's "conning" everyone) even after coming face to face with her coddling "mother-in-law" (Shirley MacLaine) and Hugh's twin brother, the cold and unfriendly Bill Winterbourne (also Brendan Fraser).
For a fluff film like this, the cast is surprisingly good. Loren Dean is convincing enough and makes you want to jump into your TV and strangle the jerk. The Winterbourne butler, Paco (Miguel Sandoval), is a delight to watch, especially when he's drunk. But Fraser and MacLaine really make the film worthwhile to see. Why either talented actor would want to participate in a film like this is a mystery to me, but maybe it's for the best. Fraser especially plays twins very well, and his transition from part antagonist to full protagonist is believable. But I have a difficult time understanding why Ricki Lake was cast as Connie. She has a tendency to overact in many scenes, she doesn't make a convincing 18 year-old at all (she was 28 when cast), and her transition from sharp-tongued teenager to polite young socialite bride-to-be is too fast and unbelievable.
Overall, 'Mrs. Winterbourne' is a good film for a boring Friday night. This is definitely a chick flick. It's heartwarming and the cast is a joy to watch. Just don't expect anymore than that.
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