Splitting Heirs (1993) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

Eric Idle wrote this lightweight comedy about a working class guy who discovers late in life that he is the real Duke of Bournemouth. For some reason, it never dawned on him that he wasn't really from an Indian family, even though he had blond hair and blue eyes. (Idle himself played the part).

Of course, he could hardly be blamed for not noticing that, since there were even more obviously false things in his world which were not false at all.

  • In order for the character to be the rightful Duke, the Idle character has to have been born on the same day as the Rick Moranis character, who is playing the American currently believed to be the rightful Duke. You can understand how Idle might have missed this point since he was born in 1943 while Moranis was born in 1954. Idle was 50 in this film. Moranis was 39, and looked much younger.

  • The rightful duke would have to be Barbara Hershey's son. I can see why Idle might have missed this point as well, given that he is five years older than his "mom" (Hershey).

Idle starts out resentful of Moranis's privileged life, but the two of them eventually bond, at which point they have to team up to defeat an evil lawyer (John Cleese) who hopes to profit from Idle's claim to the dukedom. The barrister reasons that the House of Lords would be much more likely to approve Idle's claim if Moranis were dead, since there is no other claimant and the lords abhor vacant dukedoms. Certain in that belief, Cleese sets about to attend to the matter of reducing the number of claimants.

The film is boring and predictable, and there are very few funny lines. The situations are only sporadically funny, and a lot of the funniest material seems to be ... um ... derivative. In other words, you've seen it all before. It does have moments (the intro is quite funny, as is the "Hindu dream sequence", for example), but it represents a great disappointment from a dual-Python project.



  • No features at all, not even a menu. It just starts playing when you load it.
  • the transfer is good, and is anamorphically enhanced for 16x9 screens.


  • There is very brief and very distant rear nudity from Catherine Zeta-Jones. She may also be topless underwater (but it is indistinct).
  • The rear nudity from Eric Idle, however, is not nearly brief enough.
  • Louise Downey appears in a thong and tassels as a stripper, and topless in a poster advertising her act.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus out of four stars: fewer than two  stars. James Berardinelli 1.5/4, Roger Ebert 2/4.

The People Vote ...

  • It grossed three million dollars in the USA.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C-. Not awful, but for Python and/or Zeta completists only.

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