MRS. DOUBTFIRE (1993) 

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Robin Williams
Sally Field
Pierce Brosnan
Mara Wilson
Harvey Fierstein
Polly Holliday
Lisa Jakub
Matthew Lawrence

Chris Columbus



Time: 125 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Comedy/Family

Won Academy Award for Best Makeup. Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor-Comedy (Williams).

Robin Williams may be one of the best comedians of our time, but I have to wonder about his film choices. For the most part, he has impeccable taste where drama is concerned, however, he comedy choices sorely lack the intelligent and subversive aspects of his nature. Cute and silly, seems to be the common thread, with MRS. DOUBTFIRE at the top of the list in both categories. When done right, men in drag can be wonderfully funny. SOME LIKE IT HOT proves that in spades. I admit, the idea behind this film had promise or I wouldn't have bothered to watch it. I should have realized with Chris Columbus at the helm, it would be more childish than clever.

Williams plays a divorced father who wants to spend more time with his kids, but his ex-wife, played by Sally Field, won't let him because he's not a responsible person. A valid argument, however, maybe she should have thought of that before she married him. Just a thought. As a now single mom on the go, she needs help taking care of the children and begins a search for a nanny. Since she won't even consider using her ex-husbands, he takes matters into his own hands. With the help of his brother, a makeup artist, he transforms himself into an elderly British woman with perfect references. A sane and believable course of action.

It doesn't take long for the kids to figure out it's dad in a dress. After the initial scare – I'd be freaked out too if I saw my dad in a bra and makeup – they plot with him to break up their mother's current relationship with the dashing Pierce Brosnan and reunite their parents. Nothing about their attempts at sabotage are funny. I mean really, throwing fruit at a man's head. Why didn't he just kick him in the balls? The only scene I found the least bit amusing was the one where Williams is forced to run back and forth between the men's and woman's room during dinner in a restaurant. Only he could capture the manic feel of this scene so well. He is the best physical comedian of our time. It's a shame his talent has to be watered down into filmmaking like this.

There are moments of great humor in this film, but the plot was just too ridiculous for me to swallow. The kids, too cute, the story, too trite and the ending, well, you know that going in. If I were in Sally Fields shoes, I would have made him stay on as my nanny, makeup, padding and all, to punish him for chasing away my everyday chance of having sex with one of the hunkiest men on the planet. Robin Williams may be smart and funny, but who would you rather stare at at the end of a hard day? Looks aren't everything, but in this case, they'd matter. Who would you choose: irresponsible, annoying ex or attractive, successful boyfriend? Pierce wins hands down. She plays a better woman than I'd be. Sure, the kids are happy, but what about her needs? In the real world things would have ended differently, I'm sure...with Williams in the loony bin and the kids at boarding school.

As innately funny as Williams is dressed as an old British woman, this film didn't really tickle my funnybone. The makeup was impressive, truly transforming him into another character, but I didn't really care about him or his plight. That being said, his energetic performance is the only thing that keeps this flick afloat. Field and Brosnan are strapped into straight jackets of normalcy that don't give them anywhere to go. Their main function is to be the wet blankets, which doesn't show off their talent in the best light. This being a Robin Williams vehicle, that's not exactly a priority. This is not my favorite Williams flick, but it's vastly popular, so there must be something about it I'm missing. If you like, silly, sappy movies that end with a group hug, you're in for a real treat. Otherwise, I'd skip this overcooked goose.

"My first day as a woman and I am already having hot flashes."

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