As a sweet voice-over actor who can imitate Mickey Mouse, Barbra Streisand and grand opera sopranos at the Met with equal aplomb, Daniel Hillard (Robin Williams) is a constant delight to his three adoring kids.
To his wife. Miranda (Sally Field) however, he is an impractical dreamer with an uncertain future. She, in contrast, is a no-nonsense, hard-working, level-headed woman so methodical she even labels the peas and carrots in the kitchen cupboard.
When Daniel brings home an entire zoo that excavates her lawn, Miranda files for divorce and her husband is only awarded visitation rights one day per week.
Bereft and missing his children, he poses as a nanny with the help of his make-up
artist brother (Harvey Fierstein) and the result is a cross between Dame Edna and Dustin Hoffman in Tootsie (1982).
The kids love Mrs Doubtfire, but he/she can’t cook and during the first stint at the stove his rubber breasts catch fire and the house nearly burns down. It’s even funnier when his false face falls out of an upstairs window and he has to bury his real face in white cake frosting, pretending it’s cold cream.
Pure slapstick, with about a million excuses for Mr Williams to do his considerable clowning.
Raising the occasional quizzical eyebrow in bewilderment, Pierce Brosnan also does well as the bachelor looking for a ready-made family, but Field overdoes the exasperation and the film’s a lot more fun when she’s not around.
Daniel Hillard/Mrs Doubtfire