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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Mrs. Doubtfire (1993/Blu-ray + DVD-Video Set)

Mrs. Doubtfire (1993/Blu-ray + DVD-Video Set)


Picture: B/C+     Sound: B/C+     Extras: D     Film: D



Chris Columbus is one of the most overrated directors since the 1980s and his weak-but-profitable list of films (until he finally hit a wall with disasters like Rent) set the worst possible set of messages to a new generation of filmmakers and filmgoers.  The result is some of the worst films ever made from the worst of the Spielberg imitators around.  His 1993 hit Mrs. Doubtfire is one of the biggest and most insidious of them all as an animation voice actor (Robin Williams) drives his wife (Sally Field) to divorce and to keep tabs on his kids, becomes the title character.


He makes her up to be a nanny and at first, the Randi Mayem Singer/Leslie Dixon script might have left it at that, but in real life, the set up is surprisingly condescending and exploits that sense in every way.  One angle implies that Field’s character is selfish and needs to be “put in her place,” as she should be home taking care of the kids instead of being a moneymaker.  Then there is the idea that all children need their father, to the sick, functional extent that they are nothing without him and (broken home, divorced kids or not) need to cling to their father as the film plays on the false hopes and impossibility that a father figure could always be there.


Then doing it as a comedy is supposed to make this good, but the anti-feminist angle is not so easily inoculated, nor should Field’s character be.  In addition, if you want to go the mental short cut route of “it’s just a movie” or that it’s a “comedy” then you are able to be in denial of anything.  However, Columbus’ button pressing days were soon waning, in part due to something as ugly as 9/11, but not before this made insane cash worldwide.  Note that even Williams’ career has suffered since.  All in all, this is a time capsule and relic of a mindless Hollywood that can never be far enough in the past.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 AVC @ 28.5 MBPS digital High Definition image is on the soft side, looks like an older HD master that Fox felt they could get away with using for this release and is adequate for such an overly commercial release.  It could look better, but since it is shot with the flatness of a TV sitcom, what’s the use?  The DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio (MA) lossless mix is also flat, dull, unexciting and both show that the DVD’s poor anamorphically enhanced picture and lamer Dolby Digital 5.1 mix (included on the Blu-ray) are just awful.  You get flatness all around.  Extras include five featurettes, stills and trailers.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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