Mrs. Doubtfire

Imagine Robin Williams playing a character who crossdresses as a 60-ish woman so that he can get a job as nanny to his children, whom he misses dreadfully, now that he's divorced. Now imagine that his ex-wife has a maturing yuppie boyfriend, with whom Williams-Woman is required to spend some time. Now (don't worry, we're almost through) visualize Williams' unhappy dad as having a menial job at a television station which needs a new host to liven up its children's hour. Now, after picturing all this, put your money back in your wallet. The entire movie, with all of its jokes, and its entire soundtrack--including "Walk Like a Man" -- has just played inside the theater of your mind.

Except for his turn in Alladin, Williams has been in a comedic dead end for years. Alternating between a bullying stream-of-conciousness and the most maudlin sentimentality Hollywood has to offer, he hasn't found a way to share the screen and be funny. But this is a real step down (okay, it's a lateral move from Toys). The characters and situations are stolen from other movies, then only half-baked. The kids are particularly phoney.

I did laugh a couple of times, but nearly as often as I groaned.

-- David Theis


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