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Mrs. Doubtfire

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Mrs. Doubtfire

Starring: Robin Williams, Sally Field
Director: Chris Columbus
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 125 Minutes
Release Date: November 1993
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein, Robert Prosky, Polly Holliday, Lisa Jakub, Matthew Lawrence, Mara Wilson, Anne Haney

Review by Dragan Antulov
2 stars out of 4

Conservative commentators are often accusing Hollywood of subverting traditional family values, yet there are filmmakers whose entire work could be best described as celebration of family. The best known of them all is Chris Columbus, author of family-oriented comedies that earned their rank among most profitable Hollywood products in the last few decades. One of such products is MRS. DOUBTFIRE, 1993 comedy based on the novel by Anne Fine. Its protagonist is Daniel Hillard (played by Robin Williams), San Francisco actor specialised in giving voices to animated characters. He loves two of his daughters very much, but his wife Miranda (played by Sally Field) seeks divorce and later gets custody over them, reducing Daniel's contact with children to visits once a week. Daniel can't reconcile with that and devises a daring scheme to trick his wife and remain with children all time - he starts applying make-up and wears wigs and women's clothes in order to turn into "Mrs. Doubtfire", Scottish nanny that would get job as Miranda's housekeeper. The scheme works, but only until circumstances force "Mrs. Doubtfire" to abandon her false identity.

MRS. DOUBTFIRE is typical embodiment of 1990s "high concept" - comedy based on single idea, although some inspiration for screenwriters Randi Mayem Singer and Leslie Dixon could be found in two films carried by legendary Dustin Hoffman - TOOTSIE and KRAMER VS. KRAMER. Almost entire movie rests on the shoulders of Robin Williams, actor who built his reputation by playing bizarre, eccentric and often infantile characters, which were often more irritating than funny. But this time Williams did a very good job, filling two pairs of shoes left by his more respected predecessor. His presence and natural sense of comedy are enough to compensate inadequacies of formulaic and predictable script. The rest of the cast is merely supporting and mostly forgettable, including Pierce Brosnan in the pseudo-villainish role of Miranda's new love interest. Columbus as the director did more than decent job and the film is less boring than the formula and two hours of running time would indicate. All in all, those viewers who don't mind taking saccharine-stuffed form of entertainment from time to time might find MRS. DOUBTFIRE to be rewarding experience.

Copyright 2002 Dragan Antulov

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