Splitting Heirs Review

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Producer-writer Eric Idle and director Robert Young have here knocked up a comedy that makes a small nod to the Baling classic Kind Hearts And Coronets, as the rightful heir to a dukedom stops at nothing to get his hands on what is rightfully his.

Accidentally mislaid as a baby in the swinging 60s by his doped-up parents, the Duke and Duchess of Bournemouth, young Tommy (Idle) is inadvertently brought up by the Patel family, who run a corner shop in Southall, a mix-up which sees American Henry Maitland (Moranis) installed as the Bournemouths' heir apparent.

Thus, when the millionaire Duke eventually dies (by, amusingly, falling off his yacht), it's Henry who's lording it up at the manor. On discovering that he's not really Asian, the penny begins to drop for Tommy, and so begins a rather confusing scheme - via a fling with Henry's fiancee, Kitten (Zeta Jones), and the connivance of solicitor Shadgrind (John Cleese) - to kill Henry and claim the inheritance.

Barbara Hershey vamps it up nicely as Duchess Lucinda, various British character actors that you assumed were dead (Eric Sykes, Stratford Johns) shuffle on and off, but while this starts out fine, it all, unhappily, disintegrates midway as if no one is quite sure what's going on.

You can just about forgive the fiftysomething Idle for playing a man in his mid-20s, but while this must have looked great on paper, it will probably only be remembered as the film which marked the big screen debut - as "couple in restaurant" - of Gary and Michelle Lineker.