Melissa Pierson
May 24, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Mermaids

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG-13
runtime
110 minutes
performer
Cher, Christina Ricci, Winona Ryder, Bob Hoskins
director
Richard Benjamin
genre
Drama, Comedy

We gave it a B

Rebellious-teen-drives-parents-wild has long been a staple scenario of the movies, not to mention the sitcom. It’s an overworked plot but Mermaids manages a twist: The parental role is taken by the teen, and vice versa. In this case, Cher — in a tailor-made part — is out for an irresponsible fine time until an unlikely beau (Bob Hoskins) sets her as straight as such a loopy mom can get. Daughter Charlotte (the absolute charming Winona Ryder) wants to be a nun, despite (or because of) being Jewish. She learns that you can’t keep a good hormone down, however, especially when the neighborhood convent has such a handsome caretaker (Michael Schoeffling). While all the good natured ribbing between these calculatedly nutty characters can grow fey to a fault, it can also be pleasing in a low-key way. That’s why so many were disappointed with the movie on the big screen. But it’s also what makes it quite right for the smaller scale of the TV set. B

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