Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Errors, Domestic Comedy  |   Release Date - Nov 24, 1993 (USA)  |   Run Time - 125 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Chris Columbus' Mrs. Doubtfire is one of Robin Williams' biggest hits, with more than 420 million dollars in worldwide receipts and status as a surefire ratings-getter whenever it is shown on network television. Not long after voicing the motormouth Genie in Aladdin, Williams takes his range even further as one of the most popular cross-dressing figures of all time, next to Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie and Dame Edna Everage. Once the audience concedes that a dense layer of makeup is enough to conceal Williams' identity from the people who know him best, his family, Mrs. Doubtfire takes off as a first-rate screwball comedy with impeccable timing and a handful of classic scenes. Especially memorable are Williams' attempts to bounce between dinners at two different tables, as two different people, in one restaurant, which involves numerous costume changes and some awkward fumbling with an uncooperative set of false teeth. Numerous such close shaves are the bread and butter of this movie, and Williams makes them work perfectly. Even if they strain credibility to the breaking point, the outcome easily justifies a full suspension of disbelief. Supporting players Sally Field, Harvey Fierstein, and Pierce Brosnan are all wonderfully cast. The comedy's soft underbelly of sentiment would preview some of Williams' more saccharine choices later in the 1990s, but did not sufficiently detract from the proceedings at this point.