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Overall Rating
3.55

Awesome: 23.19%
Worth A Look34.78%
Average: 18.84%
Pretty Bad: 20.29%
Total Crap: 2.9%

4 reviews, 45 user ratings


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Birdcage, The
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by Ryan Arthur

"I pierced the toast!"
4 stars

Lightweight comedy bouyed by terrific performances.

The Birdcage is a remake of the 1978 film La Cage aux Folles (a French film, but we'll let it slide). In this retelling, the straight son of a gay couple brings home a girl and her parents, who just happen to be an ultra-conservative senator and his wife. The son doesn't want the potential in-laws to see his two dads, so the plan is to get his birth mother to do a one-night masquerade. But the "wife" of the gay couple, who just happens to be a drag queen, decides to show up anyway, in full drag regalia, as Barbra Bush.

Trust me, it's funnier than it sounds.

If you've seen the original film, its two sequels, the Broadway show or any combination of those, then you really know everything you need to, because it hasn't changed a lot.

Robin Williams and Nathan Lane are the gay couple. Lane is over the top, an aging and horribly insecure gay man, worried about his looks and how his partner views him after all this time. Williams, surprisingly, is nicely restrained (probably ranking among his other lowkey performances in Awakenings and Good Will Hunting) as the more masculine of the pair. I'm a fan of both of their work (especially a restrained Williams), and the two of them work well together; it's almost as if you can believe their history.

But the real fun comes with the supporting roles. Gene Hackman and Dianne Wiest play the other set of parents, a couple of staunch conservatives (he thinks the pope is too controversial and the Reverend Billy Graham too liberal). Hackman plays the button-down type to the hilt. He's clueless about the world around him and the very people in front of him. He's just trying to jump on the family values bandwagon after a colleague dies in bed with an underage prostitute. His wife, of course, figures things out way ahead of him, but she dotes on him, and in trying to be the ideal wife, doesn't bother to clue him in.

Stealing the show, however, is Hank Azaria, notable for a multitude of voices on the Simpsons. Azaria plays Agador, the houseboy who becomes the butler/kitchen help for the night of the visit. It's a hoot to see Azaria doing a thick Cuban accent and dance around the apartment in a wig and hotpants. He steals the show with some broad physical comedy, too.

In the end, folks will dig The Birdcage because it presents the gay community as harmless and wacky. They should enjoy it for the terrific comedic performances it contains.

Also, you get to see Hackman in drag at the end. Funny stuff.

Laugh out loud funny in several places. Worth the rental.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=527&reviewer=7
originally posted: 12/05/98 02:17:21
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User Comments

11/18/14 Anthony Barker My favorite comedy of all-time! 5 stars
12/28/09 Dane Youssef All the actors sparkle. Firey, tawdry, spicy, sultry, jagged, wicked and bitchy. 4 stars
8/02/09 Samantha Pruitt really great movie, no matter how many times i see it, it's funny! 5 stars
3/16/08 Lala Enh. the brilliant LA CAGE dumbed down, de-sexed...AKA made palatable for the str8 masses. 3 stars
1/19/08 Pamela White williams pulls off the gay role funny 5 stars
7/08/07 Stacy It's very funny, Nathan Lane is great and Robin Williams controls himself. 4 stars
8/30/06 Sepi53 not great but bad at all 3 stars
7/14/06 David Cohen Hilarious 5 stars
2/27/06 Cho Momma! This movie was awesome. Chris Parry really was off the mark here. So Deal with it! 5 stars
10/11/05 Becca Excellent Movie! Speaks the truth! 5 stars
9/24/05 playa hata taylor fladgate, your diseased mother sucks nigger dicks in hell. DIE FAGGOT. 1 stars
9/10/05 Taylor Fladgate "Chris Parry" can go screw himself. This is a classic comedy. 5 stars
6/14/05 Indrid Cold A fairly limp, one joke movie. 3 stars
9/14/04 SF Fuck the review! This was a funny film with great allround performances 5 stars
7/04/04 JimmyC Great Movie 5 stars
5/05/04 John funny and actually comes close at times to the unbeatable original 5 stars
12/01/03 *A Monotonous Creton Who Loves Tom Hulce* i luv Hackman+Williams!! Lane is hilarious!! Flockhart must die!!!!!! 4 stars
2/08/03 Wolf Loved it - LOL. Worth the rental. 5 stars
2/08/03 Jack Sommersby Williams is refreshingly restrained in this too-tasteful remake. 2 stars
2/03/03 Richard Williams and Hackman are solid, as is Weist. Lane and Azaria are outstanding! 4 stars
10/14/02 Charles Tatum Lane steals this movie, which is a clone, not a remake, of the original 4 stars
8/04/02 KMG THE SCARY THING IS ROBIN DIDN'T KNOW HE WAS FILMING A MOVIE 3 stars
7/10/02 Bada Bing Crosby Best moments-'I call it home because you're there', and Agador/Spartacus by Hank Azaria 4 stars
6/20/02 y0rt Funny stuffs. 5 stars
1/25/02 Monster W. Kung Please get the original. It's better in every conceivable way. 2 stars
10/21/01 Andrew Carden A Bad Rip-Off Of "Mrs. Doubtfire" That Basically Has No Laughs and A Dull Script. 2 stars
9/21/01 Chris it was pretty good. it can be gay and good too. what's the deal with that train of thoug 4 stars
9/04/01 Butterbean Hank Azaria was great! Not a bad movie at all 4 stars
8/07/01 Joe Zappa It's alright, but not as funny as I was told. It was still a little funny, though. 3 stars
5/21/01 balle sex 5 stars
5/03/01 BrainPan Once again proving our theory that gays are hilarious. 4 stars
2/16/01 Jake Not funny! Waste of fine cast. Williams at his worst 2 stars
3/11/00 David Rogers It was funny, but not that funny. But one of Robin's best. 4 stars
3/07/00 J. Alán Blankenship One of the funniest movies of all time... 5 stars
2/25/00 Bozo Gay man, as presented by Hallmark. Hank Azaria is best as Aggador/Spartacus 3 stars
2/16/00 Kyle Broflovski Drag-lite--i.e. Inoffensive to the more conservative set. Very funny. 4 stars
2/07/00 Lame-Oh saw this on TV, and all I saw were guys wearing dresses... yuck! 2 stars
4/20/99 jimmy jam FUNNY ASS MOVIE!!! 5 stars
11/25/98 Mr.Pink Word-for-word remake of original, not interesting 2 stars
10/07/98 Maegs I have always been a Nathan Lane fan, now is no exception 4 stars
9/09/98 Johny I didn't laugh at all. Maybe I expected more. 1 stars
8/26/98 Pete Pssst. I think Nathan Lane might be gay. Don't tell anyone. Alright flick. 3 stars
8/25/98 Miss Stress I thought this movie was fucking hysterical 5 stars
8/24/98 The Capital City Goofball I'm sure the south would find this funny. But I have no idea why. 2 stars
8/23/98 {{{OZ}}} Men wearing dresses. BAHAHA. Not nearly as good as Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert. 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  08-Mar-1996 (R)

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