Funny man Robin Williams is a terrific actor as long as the director reigns in his manic energy. He was brilliant in The World According to Garp, won a supporting actor award for Good Will Hunting and was almost always very good in a movie many people forget about: What Dreams May Come, probably the most visually amazing movie ever made.
Robin Williams was also a disaster in the mess of a movie titled Cadillac Man and just as bad in that awful American remake of the French classic The Birdcage. What Robin William needs is a director who can control his manic energy and focus his comedic talents. Paul Mazursky manages to do that in the overlooked comedy Moscow on the Hudson.
Robin Williams plays a Russian circus musician who defects to the United States. According to the very useful director's comment track, Williams spent weeks learning Russian to be believable in the scenes taking place in Russia and weeks working on his Russian-English accent. Having put that much work into a role perhaps allowed Robin Williams to focus his energy into the character and not into manic comedy bits, something Jim Carrey should definitely learn, and fast.
Moscow on the Hudson is the very funny story of the American Dream as seen by immigrants. All the characters in this movie save the Cleavant Derricks character who is a Black man, are immigrants and all want to grab the gold ring.
There are many funny stories attached to each other in this charming little comedy and although it clocks in at slightly under two hours, it definitely does not feel like a two hour movie.
Moscow on the Hudson is a very good rainy day, nothing much to do on Sunday, make you feel good, do not want to think too much and relax kind of movie. It is funny, it is poignant, it is one of those really neat movies that bears watching every once in a while. It is one of those movies you put on your list