Mrs. Doubtfire Behind the Seams Edition
Robin Williams, Sally Field, Harvey Fierstein
Directed by Chris Columbus
Originally released 1993
Fox Home Entertainment 2008
125 minutes
1 DVD of Extra Features

Mrs. Doubtfire is a family comedy and Robin Williams classic. The latest version, the Behind The Seams Edition, includes an extra DVD full of cool and much better than most extra features. This movie really works not only because the story is well-told and interesting but it allows Williams to have a few over the top comedic moments and yet give a manic but controlled performance. That the kids are not Hollywood casting smart-asses -including the Adam Rich clone– is also a plus.

In Mrs. Doubtfire Williams plays a recently divorced dad who impersonates a Mary Poppins like housekeeper to be closer to his kids. Fortunately for him his brother (Fierstein) is a make-up specialist and can create a woman -full body suit included–out of Williams. Sally Field plays the heavy, aka the straight laced humorless mother and ex-wife. There is also the problem of a new rival played by Pierce Brosnan.

This comedy gives Robin Williams many an opportunity to demonstrate his talents. From the cartoon voice-over opening to the two or three faces and characters Fierstein first comes up with to the fully blown out and sometimes over the top but controlled performance as Euphegenia Doubtfire, he does a great turn.

Part of the tension in this movie is when will the kids figure it out so what will happen next. Though this is done rather crudely -and some more puritan folks will object to the toilet humor-the timing itself is just right. The writing is also top notch story wise and includes quite a few very good one-liners: “Who did this to you?” (referring to the costume). “Uncle Frank and Aunt Jack”. Or “It was the drink that killed him. … He was hit buy a Guinness truck.”

Director Chris Columbus is an old hand at family friendly movies such as Gremlins, Home Alone, and a couple of Harry Potters. Here, he keeps Williams on a fairly tight leash though there are a few extra scenes here and there such as the air broom moment that though enjoyable could have been cut with no great loss.

This is a very entertaining and fun to watch movie that has aged well and will always stay fresh.

If you already have this family comedy the Behind The Seams Edition, even with its disc chock full of great extra features -including many, many deleted or alternate scenes, 36 minutes of them– may not be worth buying again unless you are a die hard fan of this movie. Otherwise, go for it.

The special features DVD in this edition includes From Man to Mrs. The Evolution of Mrs. Doubtfire; Aging Gracefully, A Look Back with director Chris Columbus and Williams; a behind the scenes photo gallery; a section on the cartoon Williams is dubbing at the beginning of the movie -including a longer version of it though it was not completed; a section on the make-up job Williams needed to play the role; and a section of deleted improv scenes; a publicity section with the original trailers and so on.


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