Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Random Film Review: Mrs Doubtfire

Dir: Chris Columbus | 1993 | USA | 125min

When we saw Carlito’s Way (1993) at the cinema, there was a man sitting in front of us who, when scenes of blood or guns or violence were on screen, would jump up, clap, laugh and generally froth at the mouth. I was so annoyed at him. I wanted to talk to him and ask him why such things turned him on. The film was meant to be exciting, but this guy was getting such a perverse kick out of the violence. He disgusted me. But my girlfriend restrained me talking to him, and said the man was mentally disturbed, and there was nothing I could do to help him. I wondered what happens to people's minds to make them the way they are.

Anyway, I saw Mrs Doubtfire last night and it was crap (there's really nothing more to say about it, but I will continue).

But I came out of the cinema wondering if there was something wrong with me. Everyone else in the cinema seemed to enjoy it: there was so much laughter that the dialogue could rarely be heard. A girl next to me and a man behind me had the loudest, most annoying laughs I’d ever heard. So what were they laughing at?

Surely not Robin Williams, one of the flatest, most insincere, hollow, unfunny, vain actors I’ve seen on the screen. Surely not the children, three of the most boring, annoying, ugly, flat, cliched brats to hit the screen. Why aren’t people sick to death of the sweet little girl who has all the cute one-liners and a sickly cute face and voice that makes you want to puke? The kids annoyed me so much.

Every time (and it was a lot of times) the camera showed their response to a person or comment it went: little girl first (easily convinced); the boy next (a little harder to convince); and finally the ‘young lady’ (hardest to convince).

Mrs Doubtfire is so middle class it’s disgusting. When Robin Williams has just moved into his new apartment after divorcing Sally Field, his place is a mess. So when his children visit and see his apartment, they are disappointed. Worse still, when they are given Chinese take-aways for dinner, they are disgusted. They think their dad is a loser, because his apartment is untidy and all he can rustle up is Chinese takeaway.

But then when dad cleans up his apartment and gets a job: he’s Mr Wonderful, he’s back on track, his life is sorted, everything is okay.

And when Mrs Doubtfire comes onto the scene, what is it that convinces the kids she’s okay? Dinner: that’s all they care about. And then, surprise surprise, cut to the little girl first: smile, then the boy: smile, then the ‘young lady’: reluctant at first, but finally a smile. How many times were these boring, obvious, contrived, mundane shots repeated? I don’t know, but a lot of times.

Isn’t it a pity when Robin Williams (I have to refer to him by his real name because I just saw him playing himself, just like in Good Morning Vietnam, this is another showcase for his unfunny talents. I hated the jump-cuts of him performing for the camera. I just don't find him funny) has to ship and stamp cans of film for a living. An actor of his calibre and talent doing manual work. Why is this looked down upon in the film? This is a film about money and success. What is it the kids miss about Mrs Doubtfire (when she leaves)? Her sense of humour, her warmth? No. It’s the food and the clean sheets.

No one in this film has a personality or is in the slightest bit interesting. It’s so sickly sentimental and cliched. I apologise for the bad review, it’s just because Mrs Doubtfire is so bad I just want to scream and shout, rather than deconstruct and analyse. I just hate what it’s saying.

And the audience laps it up. You’ll say to me it’s just entertainment, don’t look into it, don’t be a film student. Okay, but all things apart I didn’t even find it entertaining. Nauseating, yes. If I want entertainment I’ll go and get drunk and laid.

Upon leaving the cinema I felt like the last human survivor in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Everyone’s been brainwashed, or turned into idiots, and maybe I should laugh when everyone else does just to fit in and be normal. Otherwise people will know and they’ll start pointing at me, screaming, shouting ‘Get him! He’s a film student!’*

*Written as a pretentious film student, 1993. I don't feel so strongly about the film any more; I must be mellowing in old age.

No comments :