Archive for the ‘Harvey Fierstein’ Category

Mrs. Doubtfire

17 May

Mrs Doubtfire.  Directed by Chris Columbus. Farce. An irresponsible ex-husband turns himself into a responsible female Scottish housekeeper for his ex-wife and children. 125 minutes Color 1993.

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I have a hard time swallowing Robin Williams as an actor. Performance art is different internally from the art of acting, and as we all know Robin Williams is one of the great performance artists of our time. Bob Hope always groused at Oscar time that he never won one. The joke was he knew he should not have.  Very few comics have both crafts in them. Jackie Gleason. Milton Berle. I once saw it in Jerry Lewis. Performance artists have the ambition to entertain, and that’s the problem with Williams, and many another. They tend to get teary and sentimental, which they take to be acting when it isn’t. Things come out ever so slightly exaggerated when comedians take on serious parts. Their desire to entertain pushes through like a blister. But Williams is not bad in this piece. In fact, he is better at being the old lady than he is at his occasional riffs, one with dinosaurs, for instance, which is feeble. His confrontation scenes at the end are very well played. He’s a naturally likeable entity, which has a lot of carrying power, and, since his comic genius is entirely verbal, his quick wittedness accomplishes a lot playing a character whose diction accounts for everything funny that happens. For the written words of the script are funny. When it asks him to break character, or enter into physical comedy, it and he flop. But he has a marvelous actor opposite him, our beloved Sally Field. She is an actor of the great power of daring. Watch how good Williams becomes as, when opposite her, they play an outright hateful argument. Pierce Brosnan, as pretty of piece of flesh as ever graced a bathing suit, strikes just the right balance as the attractive suitor. Harvey Fierstein plays Williams inventive brother in the gigantic manner we all now wait for and enjoy. The film has the most damaging musical score I have ever heard. Cut off one of your ears when watching this picture. Or hope that your laughter will drown it out. It sounds like it is trying to prop up a structure that needs no props, like flying buttresses around a pyramid. Don’t believe it for a minute. The picture holds up quite well indeed.

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