Friday, January 28, 2011

You know what's a good movie? (Part 7) Mrs. Doubtfire

Part 1: Forrest Gump

Connection: Tom Hanks

Part 2: Toy Story

Connection: Pixar

Part 3: The Incredibles

Connection: Superhero Films

Part 4: Batman (1989)

Connection: Jack Nicholson

Part 5: The Departed

Connection: Matt Damon

Part 6: Good Will Hunting

Connection: Robin Williams

Part 7: Mrs. Doubtfire

I still pop this classic in the DVD player at least once a year, and it's still hilarious!  Director Chris Columbus gave us a film for all ages (as he often does).  That film... Mrs. DoubtfireRobin Williams stars as a lovable dad who can't hold down a job.  He's married to Sally Field, a very serious career woman who has little time for her kids.  The kids are played by Lisa Jakub, Matthew Lawrence and Mara Wilson

When the parents file for divorce, it becomes harder and harder for Williams to see his kids.  So he comes up with a plan to dress as the kid new nanny, Mrs. Doubtfire.  When Sally Field's character starts dating Pierce Brosnan, hilarity ensues.

The movie is all about heart.  Yes, on the surface, it's a man dressing up like a woman, and being put into all sorts of uncomfortable situations.  But beneath the surface, is a story of a family who has an enormous amount of love for his children.  He loves them so much, he's so desperate to see them everyday, he's dressing up as a woman to do so.  That's what the best films are all about, heart.

The movie mostly follows Williams, Field, and their children.  Each character has an arc, some growth over the course of the movie.  I think that's important too.  Williams becomes a responsible parent, Field loosens up and enjoys her life, their son gets better grades in school, etc.
Plus there are some great supporting characters, like Williams gay brother, who is played by Harvey Fierstein.  These characters fill out the movie with just great all around performances.

Chris Columbus is one of my favorite directors in Hollywood.  He's done consistently good work.  His choice of cast, setting (San Francisco), score, montage, etc.; everything played into a real life scenario, which had us thinking, 'this is possible'.  Best of all, he knows how to capture people, real people.  This is just a dad wanting to be with his kids, it's so simple, but can open up a world of possibilities with a director like Columbus.

Then there is the star of the show, one of the best situation comedy actors of our time... Robin Williams!  Give the man a spoon and he'll make a funny situation out of it.  In the picture to the right, he made the lids to two pans funny, he's that good. Examples of Williams' genius: The way he's jealous of Brosnan's character and the relationship he's developed with Field, the way he picks up on women while he's in the suit, the way a man picks up on him while he's in the suit; all brilliant acting.

He nailed the accent to Euphegenia Doubtfire, his walk in the fat suit was funny, his reaction to women was funny, everything about Williams' performance was funny.  I loved him in this and can safely say, NO ONE else in Hollywood could have done what he did in this film.

Mrs. Doubtfire went on to gross 441 million dollars worldwide during its theatrical run.  That is an incredible amount of money.  There were a ton of movies before Mrs. Doubtfire that had a man or woman acting in a fat suit.  There are a LOT of movies that came out after Mrs. Doubtfire that tried it as well (i.e. Shallow Hal, and the terrible Big Momma's House).  But no one got it quite right like Columbus and company.  It's a movie with a great message, a ton of laughs, and has endured the test of time.  I absolutely love this film.

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