Ken Tucker
April 26, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The climax of Mrs. Winterbourne occurs when an infant urinates in the face of Brendan Fraser. This is, after all, the moment when Fraser’s character, Bill, a prissy millionaire, realizes just how fond he’s grown of the baby’s mother, played by Ricki Lake. Then, too, the unfunny vulgarity of this joke defines the humor in this Richard Benjamin-directed dud. Lake, returning to acting after contributing to the downfall of America as a daytime-talk-show host, plays a poor girl mistaken for the rich girl who was married to Fraser’s recently deceased twin brother, Hugh (also played by Fraser). Lake’s Connie is taken in by Bill and his wealthy mother, played by Shirley MacLaine, working the same late-middle-age bravura she’s been mining since Terms of Endearment.

Lake and Fraser never come close to believability as a romantic couple. There’s more chemistry going on in a grain of salt. The movie’s biggest fright is in permitting MacLaine to belt out ”The Sunny Side of the Street” while swinging that poor, loose-bladdered baby around with alarming abandon. D

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