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Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Birdcage (1996)

A young 20 year old boy (Dan Futterman) and an 18 year old girl (Calista Flockhart) want to get married. But the drastic different lifestyles of their parents causes a major problem. She has a right wing politician (Gene Hackman) and a stay at home mom (Dianne Wiest) for parents while he was raised by his gay father (Robin Williams) and his drag queen lover (Nathan Lane). A remake of the French hit LA CAGE AUX FOLLES, this is one of those rare instances where the remake is just about as good as the original. Working from a sharp screenplay by Elaine May, the director Mike Nichols (who died today) has crafted a whirling dervish of a farce with an expert cast of jesters who go through their paces with assurance and aplomb. The sole exception is Hank Azaria as a Guatemalan houseboy whose performance is truly terrible. While it may not make you forget the 1978 French original, it remains an amusing piece of burlesque, broadly played but with its heart in the right place. With Christine Baranski.

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