Robin Williams has starred in some good films: Good Morning Vietnam, Insominia; he also starred in a few unforgettable ones too. Mrs Doubtfire was a film I used to love as a kid- I first remembered that as soon as it came out on video, I snapped it up quick. I used to watch it over and over because I couldn't get enough of it, but as I got older, I watched Mrs Doubtfire for the first time in my 20s a few years back, and afterwards, I could never get my head around the hype of this movie, as I realised how unrealistic this portrayal of divorcée parents was. Miranda- played by a somewhat mis casted Sally Field- decides to divorce husband Daniel (Robin Williams), after enduring years of his mis haps and childish shenanigans, especially when she arrives home to a group of screaming kids messing up the house and discovering that Daniel has thrown a birthday party for his son, which descends into chaos.
Daniel is devastated-, although he is just as devastated when he is told by the court that he can only have the kids once a week, which prompts him to turn to his gay brother and boyfriend for support. With latex, a cheap wig, a dress and a pair of stockings, he later becomes Mrs Doubtfire- a Scottish nanny, of whom Miranda hires to look after the children, whilst she goes off to work. Miranda gets a new boyfriend named Stuart, played by Pierce Brosnan and here he comes across as a somewhat slimy, two-faced piece of work. But he only gets a few lines and as Stuart, character-wise he was so pedestrian and almost one-dimensional.
Mrs Doubtfire is a comical farce- but whilst Robin Williams efforts as Mrs Doubtfire are at times funny, I thought the circumstances that led to the couple's break up was, for a comedy, just ridiculous. Plus, the conclusion was rather out of sync and so far removed from reality. I understand that with divorce cases especially when kids are involved, there is hardly a happy ending. And whilst the last scenes did imply that there was some hope for Miranda and Daniel, the truth is they are no longer together as a couple and are no longer in love with one another. The ending was neither here or there-although it was realistic enough to be believed. In fact, the ending was much more believable than the other aspects of the film itself.
The cast were at best okay: I've seen Robin Williams act better and do better than in this movie, I thought Sally as Miranda was too stuck-up and as I said earlier, she was mis-casted as that character.
And by the way, Mrs Doubtfire was indeed Scottish, not English as the writers of the film have pointed out.
Having said that, the gag's and jokes, whilst they were enjoyable for a few times, eventually became tedious and tiresome. The sentimentality of it became nauseating and the cutesy factor was short-lived. The younger ones will love it more, i'm sure but for a so-called family film dealing with the complicated issue of divorce, Mrs Doubtfire was at most sappy and saccharine sweet.
Mrs Doubtfire is not Tootsie- it is nowhere as good as Tootsie; yes this film can be funny on occasions but in all, it just doesn't cut it. It is just a tad too long, too predictable and with some scenes, you often have to wait for some time for something really interesting to happen within the film.
In all though, this is a rather bog-standard affair, with nothing remotely new to offer to the audience. It is a film about a guy who dresses up as a woman, in order for him to see his children. With Tootsie, it's about a guy- who like Daniel is an actor- who dresses up as a woman in order for him to secure a part in a daytime soap opera. That movie is far more substantial and interesting; some would say it is also funnier than Mrs Doubtfire, which is in truth more of a melodrama, rather than a comedy-based film.
Mrs Doubtfire is at best very average, but it is way overrated and compared to Some Like It Hot and Tootsie, it trails behind by a couple of metres. It is a rehash of the cross-dressing elements of those films juxtaposed onto a family friendly context, but it is done in a not so successful and efficient way.
This is really a poor man's Tootsie, and whilst it can be funny at times, it does come across as being banal and predictable for a movie that Mrs Doubtfire is.