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USA 1993
Directed by
Chris Columbus
125 minutes
Rated PG

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
3 stars

Mrs Doubtfire

Just as Robin Williams cross-dressing performance is nowhere as good as Dustin Hoffman’s in Tootsie (1982) so Chris Columbus’s film, a sentimentally contrived, mawkish affair that is obviously engineered to please family audiences is not in the same league as Sydney Pollack’s. Having said that, few will fail to find the result entertaining.

Williams essentially plays the same character again and again, one who appears here as Daniel Hillard, a recently divorced San Franciscan “voice artist”, a nice guy but hopeless breadwinner who is so desperate to be with his kids that he makes himself over as 60-ish British woman and tricks his ex-wife (Sally Field) into hiring him as a nanny.

As Mrs Doubtfire Williams actually disappears into the part and, if the film is rather twee, an amalgam of Some Like It Hot (1959), Parenthood (1989) and Kramer vs Kramer (1979), his performance is a delight, with much fun had when he is called upon to switch characters rapidly. The film is all his and Sally Fields and Pierce Brosnan and the kids are merely foils for his tour-de-force performance.

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