Mermaids (1990) starring Cher, Bob Hoskins, Winona Ryder, Michael Schoeffling, Christina Ricci, Caroline McWilliams, Jan Miner directed by Richard Benjamin Movie Review

Mermaids (1990)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Winona Ryder and Michael Schoeffling in Mermaids (1990)

Winona's Little Mermaid

"Mermaids" is another one of those movies which for years I have avoided watching because quite frankly the coming of age tale of a daughter and her unconventional mother really didn't float my boat. And now having finally succumbed to watching "Mermaids", well it still failed to float my boat as it seems to trudge through the trials and teenage tribulations of Charlotte Flax rarely being anything more than pleasant but mediocre. It's mainly thanks to a nostalgic 60s soundtrack and some light hearted humorous scenes that I found it pleasant.

Teenager Charlotte Flax (Winona Ryder - Edward Scissorhands) is tired of her mother's behaviour who seems to be trying to act much younger than she is. And she isn't wrong because Mrs. Flax (Cher - The Witches of Eastwick) is constantly on the move not only trying to avoid growing up but every time she has a failed relationship she packs everything up and along with Charlotte and her sister move town. Which brings them to a new small town where whilst Charlotte's fascination with religion is fuelled by a near by monastery Mrs. Flax hooks up with local shop owner Lou Landsky (Bob Hoskins - Who Framed Roger Rabbit) forming an unlikely relationship.

Cher and Bob Hoskins in Mermaids (1990)

"Mermaids" starts so well setting up the quirky, unconventional world of Charlotte Flax, her sister and her mother as one doomed relationship sees them pick up their belongings and move to another town. But having set up the main characters, their quirkiness with Charlotte's infatuation with nuns as well as other characters of Joe and Lou it then gets all a little dull. We watch Charlotte become confused about love as she falls for the older Joe, whilst Lou and Charlotte's mother embark on an unconventional relationship but it never really becomes interesting rather more quirky with humorous scenes and situations.

That is where "Mermaids" works the best when it is being humorous be it Charlotte's misconceptions about love or the quirky relationship between Lou and Mrs. Flax. But the trouble is that the various quirky moments and crafted scenes can only do so much to pep up a movie which to me is relatively dull, or at least dull from a bloke's point of view. Helping to pep things up is the dialogue which is both honest and humorous but still it doesn't manage to raise "Mermaids" up to the point of where I felt engrossed or captivated by what was happening to the Flax family.

The saving grace is very much the whole nostalgic feel to it, being set in the 60s with a soundtrack which regularly throws up a memorable song such as "Big Girls Don't Cry", "It's My Party" and "The Shoop Shoop Song (It's in His Kiss)".

As for the performances well Winona Ryder is solid throughout delivering quirky as we go through her teenage turmoil's and Christina Ricci is amusing as her little sister. But for me the best performances come from the unlikely pairing of Cher and Bob Hoskins who inject a lot of humour into the story. Yes Cher looks just too good as a single mother and the likelihood of her hooking up with the slightly rotund Lou is far fetched but it's the whole quirkiness of it all which makes it funny.

What this all boils down to is that for me "Mermaids" is just another quirky tale of teenage life and is to be honest quite dull. It has its moments which provide some much needed light hearted relief and the pairing of Cher and Bob Hoskins works well in being totally wrong but it doesn't make up for a storyline which seems to trudge through issues, throwing moments of drama at you but failing to deliver the tension or atmosphere to go with them.