Tommy Patel (Eric Idle) is probably the only blue-eyed Pakistani living in West London.
In reality, he’s the 15th Duke of Bournemouth. You see, back in the Swinging 60s, his mini-mod-mum, the Duchess Lucinda (Barbara Hershey) – an oversexed American floozy – was mid-frug at a discotheque when she remembered that she had left her baby in his baby basket at a restaurant.
A few days later, the basket was recovered with her infant inside and the case was deemed closed.
That’s how the real heir ended up with a Pakistani foster family and a restaurant cook’s son named Henry (Rick Moranis) grew up in the lap of luxury.
Tommy and Henry become pals when Henry, newly returned to London from America, where he was raised, takes over the family-owned brokerage house where Tommy works as a stockbroker. But the more he’s around the Bournemouth millions, the more Tommy realises he is the true blue blood. He’s even got a silver antique baby rattle to prove it.
Circumstantial evidence says shady barrister Raoul Shadgrind (John Cleese), and certainly not good enough to claim a title with an heir already in place. However, the lawyer hints, things would be different if Henry had a little “accident” . . .
Tommy is also very interested in Henry’s fiancee, money-grabbing Brewer’s daughter Kitty (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a leggy beauty who is eager to earn a ladyship.
Written by Eric Idle and directed by Robert Young, Splitting Heirs is no Fish Called Wanda, but it’s briskly paced and brightly played. Though it was photographed by Tony Pierce-Roberts (Howards End) at magnificent locations, the production looks cheap and hasty.
But the opening credits – a clever parody of every mid-60s pop movie ever made – are worth the ticket price themselves.
Tommy Butterfly Rainbow Peace Patel
Raoul P. Shadgrind
Jobson the Doorman