Lots of Laughs
I usually do not like commercial comedies but “The Birdcage” is an exception. I watched it again last night and I find it absolutely amazing just how funny it is. I had already seen “La Cage Aux Folles” several times before and in all of its incarnations. Hands down, “The Birdcage” is a great remake of an already classical film. Robin Williams and Nathan Lane are wonderful as the lead couple. This may be one of the funniest films I have ever seen.
Armand Goldman owns a popular drag nightclub in Miami. His long time lover is the star of the show, Starina. The two have a son, Val, (actually he is Armand’s son from an earlier “straight” marriage) who comes “home” to announce his engagement to Barbara Keely, daughter of a United States senator. Senator Keely also happens to be the vice president of the Committee for Moral Order. The senator and his family come to South Beach to meet Val and his family and what ensues is the funniest chaos we have had on the screen in a long time. Lies and deception rule the day. What else can we expect when a guy must convince his future in-laws that he is as honest and upright and socially correct as they are. Armand and Albert (Starina) have been a Garden of Eden for themselves as they run their gaudy club. The tranquility of their lives is shaken when Val announces that he is bringing his ultra-conservative future in-laws to meet the folks. And they are all planning to have dinner together.
I could not stop laughing as I watched this movie again. All of the characters are so stereotypical, the acting is over the top, and the whole thing is completely unbelievable. With this, the script is obviously written by someone who has no intention of contributing to the stereotypical view of the drag community. Rather it appears that the script was written to create characters that are lovable as they look at us and say. “Do not take us seriously”.
There is nothing realistic about the movie. It is not politically correct but isn’t society a bit too hung up on political correctness anyway? You cannot help but love the characters in “The Birdcage” because they are so stereotypical and they are brought to life by a cast that is determined to make you love them and laugh. Even though there is little trace of reality here. This does not distract from the overall effect the movie provides. The story is shallow but the details are what make the movie funny.
The cast is great bar none. Both Robin Williams and Nathan Lane wear their roles like good pairs of broken in Levis. Both men are comic geniuses, Dianne Wiest with her ditzy self is amazing and Gene Hackman in the last scene almost walks away with the entire film. Obviously they all had a great time making it and we all had a great time watching it. The verbal repartee between and among the actors is stellar. The entire movie is hysterically entertaining. I have so many favorite scenes that I find myself laughing as I write this review which is probably the reason t has took me so long to review it. Hank Azaria
as Agador, however, has to be one of the highlights of the film. This is a movie that you can watch again and again and it ever gets old or trite. It
was filmed to entertain and that is exactly what it does.
“The Birdcage” is way over the top but utterly and completely hilarious. Nothing in the film is subtle and the characters were written to be caricatures of every gay stereotype. Isn’t it great to be able to laugh at ourselves and the way we live? Once you submit to the impossible plot of this irresistible comedy directed by the incomparable Mike Nichols you may have to dry your eyes. The gifts of perfect timing and superb direction along with a wonderful cast makes this movie the fun film that it is.