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When an irresponsible and child-like dad is barred from seeing his kids, he disguises himself as a woman and applies for the job of housekeeper for his ex-wife. The disguise of a sturdy matron works a beneficial change on him as well...but how long can he keep the act up.
For more about Mrs. Doubtfire and the Mrs. Doubtfire Blu-ray release, see Mrs. Doubtfire Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 8, 2008 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Robin Williams, Sally Field, Pierce Brosnan, Harvey Fierstein, Polly Holliday, Martin Mull
Director: Chris Columbus
» See full cast & crew
Mrs. Doubtfire Blu-ray Review
Does the dude still look like a lady in 1080p high definition?
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 8, 2008
If there is love, dear, those are the ties that bind, and you'll have a family in your heart forever.
"An unemployed actor with a reputation for being difficult disguises himself as a woman..." fits the plot description of Mrs. Doubtfire to a "T," but there is one catch: that's currently the beginning of the plot synopsis of the Sydney Pollack-directed 1982 film Tootsie on that film's IMDB page. Frankly, I'm surprised these two films came out eleven years apart. We generally see movies of such similar natures released within months of one another (see Deep Impact and Armageddon or Red Planet and Mission to Mars), one usually markedly superior to the other. I'm not necessarily a fan of either of these cross-dressing films, but if I just had to watch one, I'd choose Mrs. Doubtfire. The movie sports a few genuinely funny moments, Robin Williams being Robin Williams in one of his better roles (and at his peak), and the movie represents your typical 1990s comedy flair perfectly, blending laughs with timely messages about the realities of family life, not necessarily winding up the way the audience expects (Doubtfire's "feel good" ending not really so happy as we might expect, but then again, that's life).
Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams, August Rush) is a talented voice over actor with a moral compass and a loving father to his three children. When he throws a birthday party for his son without his wife Miranda's (Sally Field, Steel Magnolias) knowledge, she takes it as the last straw and divorces her husband. At the custody hearing, the judge only allows Daniel to see his three children every Saturday, definitely not enough time in Daniel's mind. When he discovers that his wife is looking for a housekeeper, he employes the help of his brother Frank (Harvey Fierstein, Independence Day) to transform him through body suits, a wig, false teeth, make-up, and glasses into an aging English housekeeper dubbed "Mrs. Doubtfire." His uncanny acting skills put to the ultimate test, Daniel manages to get the job and fool his wife and children completely. He must deal with his court liaison, find a job, learn to accept (or choose to harass) his ex-wife's new boyfriend Stu (Pierce Brosnan, The Tailor of Panama), and learn how to keep house, all the while maintaining his secret identity.
It had been so long since I last watched Mrs. Doubtfire that I had forgotten the film was directed by Chris Columbus (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets). As soon as the movie started, I could feel the Columbus touch even before his credit popped up on the screen. The only thing that seems to be missing is Macaulay Culkin as one of the kids. The movie screams 1990s through and through, though it is not my favorite comedy of the decade (not even my favorite Columbus movie of the decade, that title going to Only the Lonely). Still, Mrs. Doubtfire has its moments, mainly any time the Doubtfire character appears on-screen. Williams has definitely nailed the performance (and his make-up artists received a well-deserved Oscar for their work), his character rightfully a show-stopper. Sadly, I found the segments of the film with either Robin Williams playing Daniel, or just about any moment without Williams at all, to be rather tedious and tiresome, the entire thing one big cliché from the attitude of the mother to the stereotypical roles the three children represent (the too-young-to-know-better youngest, the tough-on-the-outside-but-soft-on-the-inside middle child, and the resentful-turned-accepting eldest child). Despite the fact that almost every scene seemed important and added to the story, after the first hour or so I had to resist the urge to fast forward to the next scene featuring Mrs. Doubtfire. Still, Mrs. Doubtfire is charming enough to warrant a watch, and even if parts seem dull, it moves fast enough to be entertaining.
Mrs. Doubtfire Blu-ray, Video Quality
Lacking the pristine polish and exquisite look of the latest and greatest Blu-ray discs is this 2.35:1, 1080p high definition transfer of Mrs. Doubtfire from Fox. There are times (most of the time in fact) that the transfer is perfectly acceptable, certainly not good enough to knock your socks off, but good enough to watch without wondering if you're looking at a Blu-ray or a DVD. The image on the whole is moderately detailed with a solid color palette, although most of the time colors appear rather muted and somewhat dull in appearance, certainly never vibrant and bright. Many shots exhibit some soft edges, mainly medium to long distance shots, while close-ups and more traditional shots appear rather sharp and well-defined. Flesh tones are generally good, though it seemed that in a few places they lacked color, making some of the actors appear ghostly. There is some inherent film grain to be seen in the transfer, nothing to complain about or distract from the movie. It's almost ever-present but never intrusive, although I wouldn't necessarily call this image "cinematic" or "theatrical," and I was never wowed or hearkened back to the feeling of seeing a crisp, highly detailed image on the big-screen at a quality move theater. Rather, this image is somewhat dull, not bad, but uninspired; perhaps the best description is "normal." There is a definite lack of depth and pop to the image, but considering the age of the movie, I'd say it has held up rather well, and does indeed benefit from the high-definition treatment. Lower your expectations a bit going in rather than expecting the latest and greatest in visual delights and you won't be disappointed.
Mrs. Doubtfire Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Much like Mrs. Doubtfire's video quality, the audio is best described as adequate, certainly no great shakes in the land of engaging and exciting high definition sound mixes. That's perfectly fine, because what we do have fits the bill nicely. The highlight of the DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless sound mix is the popular songs heard throughout. Both House of Pain's Jump Around and Aerosmith's Dude Looks Like a Lady really shine on this disc, making us want to jump up and down on our couches during the former, and rock out with our broom-turned-guitar with the latter. Otherwise, what we hear on this disc is rather pedestrian. Mrs. Doubtfire is a dialogue driven comedy that is accompanied by the film's readily identifiable as coming from a family-friendly comedy (not to mention mostly trite) score by Howard Shore (The Departed) (and above-referenced popular music) to move the proceedings along. Dialogue is nevertheless well-produced, focused in the center, and never an issue audibly. Some scenes exhibit some nice reverberations and echos, such as in a courtroom. While there is the sense of an echo in the sound, its placed in the front, the surround speakers proving to be nearly dead quiet. In fact, the entire soundstage is put to minimal use as this mix is definitely a front-heavy one. There is little in the way of deep bass, imaging, or directionality, but then again, an action vehicle with explosions and flying bullets Mrs. Doubtfire is not. For this style of movie, what we hear here is perfectly fine, and I challenge anyone to find a home video version of Mrs. Doubtfire that sounds better than this.
Mrs. Doubtfire Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
20th Century Fox dresses up Mrs. Doubtfire for Blu-ray with a fairly good array of extra materials. First up is a series of 18 deleted and extended scenes (presented in a very good-looking 480p video quality and a runtime of 32:06), as well as four alternate scenes (480p, 4:29). Production Office is next, a feature broken up into three sub-categories. First up is From Man to Mrs.: The Evolution of 'Mrs. Doubtfire' (480p, 26:37) which is itself broken up into five chapters. This feature looks at the script, casting, award-winning make-up, wonder and challenge of working with Robin Williams, and the meaning of the story to the cast. A behind-the-scenes photo gallery is next, followed by Aging Gracefully: A Look Back at 'Mrs. Doubtfire' (480p, 13:42), an interview with Columbus and Williams reminiscing about the film.
Animation Studio is yet another feature broken up, this time into four parts. First is A Conversation With Legendary Animator Chuck Jones (480p, 4:17) discussing his role in creating the animation seen at the beginning of the film. Original Pencil Test (480p, 2:26) is a look at the animated sequence in a cruder pencil-drawn form. Final Animation Sequence (480p, 5:14) is the entire finished sequence, and Final Animation Sequence With Alternate Backgrounds (480p, 5:51) is just that, the same sequence but presented with colored backgrounds. The sequence also has a text introduction by director Chris Columbus.
Next is another multi-layered extra, Make-Up Department, which examines three aspects of this crucial part of the film, the first being Make-Up Application With Ve Neill (480p, 4:10). This brief feature looks at the process of applying the make-up as well as the appliances that make up the mask. A make-up photo gallery is next, followed by five video make-up tests (480p, 17:54) which concludes the Make-Up Department feature. The Improvisation of 'Mrs. Doubtfire' (480p, 36:55) allows viewers to watch seven scenes from the movie featuring several of Robin Williams' improvisations for each one. From the "Publicity Department" comes an original 1993 featurette (480p, 5:29) that takes the briefest of looks behind-the-scenes of the movie. Meet Mrs. Doubtfire (480p, 5:22) is a unique piece that features Robin Williams interviewing Mrs. Doubtfire, of course intercut with various scenes from the movie. Three theatrical trailers and two TV spots for the movie are next, all presented in 480p video. A gallery of theatrical posters and a publicity photo gallery are also included. Finally, 1080p trailers for Mr. & Mrs. Smith, The Devil Wears Prada, Night at the Museum, Ice Age 2, Eragon, and League of Extraordinary Gentlemen conclude the special features.
Mrs. Doubtfire Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Mrs. Doubtfire is one of those Chris Columbus movies that's going to be around with us for a very long time. A classic in some circles, the film is definitely an enjoyable romp for the most part, dull in a few spots, but one that never overstays its welcome and is saved by Robin Williams' performance(s). Other than the Doubtfire character, the remainder of the characters are nothing more than space-fillers, simply a means to an end, and wholly unoriginal and dull. The "Mrs. Doubtfire" concept is nothing new in cinematic comedy, but Williams pulls it off very well. This Blu-ray edition is good if not somewhat unremarkable. Featuring mediocre video and audio quality and some decent extras, Mrs. Doubtfire is a Blu-ray worth checking out one way or the other, depending on how big a fan of the movie, Robin Williams, or the Blu-ray format you happen to be.
Blu-ray bundles with Mrs. Doubtfire (2 bundles)
Mrs. Doubtfire Blu-ray, News and Updates
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