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Daniel Hillard loves his son
And both his daughters, every one,
Perhaps a bit too much.
When wife Miranda seeks divorce,
He must be near his kids, of course,
Through trickery and such.
 
His make-up artist brother molds
A new persona Dan upholds,
A nanny Mrs. Doubtfire.
As Daniel acts his chosen role,
He fools his family on the whole,
Though Dan is still an outlier.
 
Enforcing rules he used to flout,
At first he makes his children pout,
But he/she proves proactive.
He’s sad to see Miranda dating
Some Bond type named Stu he’s hating
Since he’s so attractive.
 
Meanwhile, Daniel gets a job
And makes himself no more a slob,
A point he gets across.
By accident, he earns a chance
At his own show, but, in advance,
He must impress the boss.
 
Miranda’s birthday’s that same night,
At that same restaurant! Awkward, quite.
So he goes forth and back
Between the tables, switching roles,
But things spin out of his controls,
And he starts losing track.
 
Thanks to a snafu of his own,
His Mrs. Doubtfire cover’s blown,
Which shocks his former wife.
But as in court, he pleads his case,
She sees the passion in his face;
To spare him separation’s knife,
She lets the kids stay in his life.
____________________
 

There must be something inherently funny about cross-dressing, since AFI’s top two comedies were Tootsie and Some Like It Hot. Though neither one featured sexual reasons behind the masquerade, Mrs. Doubtfire has the best, a father’s love for his children. This film is an excellent example of the inimitable skill of the late Robin Williams. It features some of his manic delivery, his quick-thinking dialogue, his talent for impressions, and his capacity for unforeseen sincerity. Just as Dustin Hoffman wowed audiences by convincingly portraying a woman in Tootsie, Williams does an outstanding job in the title role, and, thanks to Oscar-winning make-up, there’s no doubt about why his family didn’t recognize him.

The film is rife with outstanding one-liners, a self-aware soundtrack, and many now-classic comedic moments, such as Daniel trying to hide his alter ego from a court liaison in his apartment (as well as his rapid-fire impressions trying to make her laugh), his initial fooling of Miranda over the phone, and his/her rocking out with a broom. The sequence at the end, in which Daniel must alternate between engagements, is now an all-too-familiar routine in animated shows (an episode of Hey, Arnold! comes to mind), but it’s the hilarious highlight of the film. Sally Field and Pierce Brosnan also shine as Miranda and Stuart, and Field’s reaction to Daniel’s subterfuge recalls her memorable personality switches in Sybil.

Overall, Mrs. Doubtfire not only has humor in spades, but it showcases the heart with which Robin Williams could fill his performances. His behavior throughout the film is indeed cause for concern, but his heartfelt speech before the judge at the end makes it completely understandable, at least to the audience and to Miranda. It was just a coincidence that this film came on my list so soon after his death, but it’s one of his most enduring comedies and, like all his films, will now include a touch of sadness at the loss of a legend.

Best lines (I couldn’t choose): (Daniel, dressed as Mrs. Doubtfire, after catching on fire) “My first day as a woman and I’m getting hot flashes.”
 
(Daniel, as Mrs. Doubtfire) “Oh, I thought I saw Clint Eastwood; that would make my day! He is such a stud muffin!”
 
(Mrs. Doubtfire, when told God made her as she is) “Well, He broke the mold when He made me.”
 
(Mrs. Doubtfire, speaking of her fake husband) “He was quite fond of the drink. It was the drink that killed him.”
(Miranda) “How awful. He was an alcoholic?”
(Mrs. Doubtfire) “No, he was hit by a Guinness truck. So it was quite literally the drink that killed him.”

 

Artistry: 9
Characters/Actors: 10
Entertainment: 10
Visual Effects: N/A (not counting make-up)
Originality: 9
Watchability: 10
 
TOTAL: 48 out of 60
 

Next: #142 – Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home

© 2014 S. G. Liput

186 Followers and Counting

 

P.S. It doesn’t compare to the testimonies of those who knew him personally, but below is a short tribute to Robin Williams and his career. May he rest in peace.

 
He charmed as an alien hatched from an egg,
A naïve observer, a fun powder keg.
Endearing and funny and mentally quick,
He made every film he was in. Take your pick.
 
A radio DJ, a nutty professor,
A nanny pretending so no one will guess “her,”
A seller of cars, and a feverish genie,
A rain forest bat, and a shrewd Arctic meanie,
An android, and Theodore Roosevelt too,
A player who learns what a board game can do,
A doctor who helps patients frozen in time,
A therapist aiding a lad in his prime,
A heavenly soul mate, a tap-dancing creature,
A Fagin musician, a wise English teacher,
A weird photo maker, a manic gay man,
A Holy Grail seeker, a grown Peter Pan.
I doubt any other like him shall exist.
Farewell, Robin Williams, for you shall be missed.
 

 

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