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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)

#2 - 1993 Box Office: Gross $219,195,243

She's a blessing... in disguise.
Daniel (Robin Williams) and Miranda Hillard (Sally Field) have been married 15 years, but their marriage is in trouble.  After Daniel quits his job in voice-overs and throws a large raucous birthday party for his son, Miranda has had enough and files for divorce.  Job- and home-less, Daniel fails to win custody of his children: Lydia (Lisa Jakub), Chris (Matthew Lawrence) & Natalie (Mara Wilson). Lost without them, Daniel applies to be the family's nanny, creating the character of Euphegenia Doubtfire with the help of his makeup-artist brother Frank (Harvey Fierstein).  Able to see his children every day, Daniel falls deep into the character of Mrs. Doubtfire, creating a loving home where the children succeed at school, Miranda comes home early from work to spend time with the family and things seem good. Miranda even starts seeing a client and old friend, Stuart (Pierce Bronsan).  However, things come to a head at a restaurant where Mrs Doubtfire and Daniel run back and forth between the family table and the table with TV-station CEO Lundy (Robert Prosky) where Daniel is trying to pitch a new TV show starring himself.

Trivia (mostly courtesy of the IMDb)
  • Spent 5 non-consecutive weeks at #1 at the US Box Office and 11 straight weeks at #1 or #2
  • Was ousted from the #1 Box Office spot by four different movies (Wayne's World 2, The Pelican Brief (two weeks), Philadelphia (two weeks) & Ace Venture: Pet Detective)
  • It took about 4.5 hours each day to transform Robin Williams into Mrs. Doubtfire
  • The scene where Daniel knocks down the prosthetic mask and it goes flying down into the street, required over 50 takes
  • The prosthetic mask used by Robin Williams in the film was actually a prop; the real makeup was made up of eight separate pieces
  • Chicago was the studio's first choice for filming. However, two new television shows ("ER" and "Chicago Hope") had a lease with the city around the same time period, so the studio eventually went with San Francisco
  • When Anne Fine was approached to make a movie out of her novel, her original choice for the lead role was Warren Beatty. Because of Beatty's reputation as a great womanizer, she thought it would be hysterical to see him dress up and pretend to be a woman
  • The character Mrs. Doubtfire was first performed by Robin Williams at a show Andy Kaufman did at Carnegie Hall. Williams pretended to be Kaufman's grandmother
  • In real life Robin Williams divorced his wife in order to marry his nanny. In this film he divorces his wife and becomes her nanny
It was a run-by fruiting...
Director Chris Columbus, is probably best known for his family fare—Adventures in Babysitting and the first two Harry Potter & Home Alone films.  This PG-13 rated film is a little less family-friendly, mostly due to a lot of Williams' somewhat inappropriate improvisations but still does a decent job tackling the issues involved in a broken family.  The storyline is ridiculous at times, especially the two scenes showing Williams changing back and forth between Daniel and Mrs. Doubtfire, but his performance—both as serious father figure and funny-voiced actor—makes up for it.  I do applaud the movie for tackling an unorthodox ending, however... I read that during pre-production, the studio wanted and tried to create a happy ending where Miranda and Daniel get back together.  Obviously, they went back to the original ending which is pretty satisfying in a non-cliché way.

Ponch's Rating:

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