The Birdcage

Year: 1996
Director: Mike Nichols
Writer: Jean Poiret
Cast: Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Gene Hackman, Dianne Weist, Calista Flockhart, Hank Azaria
La Cage Aux Folles for American audiences, transposing the party/gay capital of the US - Miami - for Paris and being as daring as it can.

Robin Williams in particular shows his great skill in portraying Armand with heart and subtlety, and Nathan Lane is a great comic and emotional sounding board for his character.

When Armand's liberated son Val wants to bring his girlfriend's straight laced, right wing parents home to meet his folks (Wiest and Hackman), he asks them for the ultimate sacrifice - to play it straight.

The hijinks that ensue as they all try to make it through the night (Hackman plays a Senator with a scandal on his tail and media mobs following him everywhere) with their sanity and sexual identities intact are hilarious. The final scene sums it all up. In drag as a disguise to elude the waiting throng, Hackman tells his driver surreptitiously to meet him around the corner, to which the clueless guy says something akin to 'in your dreams, lady', thinking his boss is an ageing transvestite propositioning him.

Williams and Lane do a great job keeping the comedy as well as the heart buoyant before the meat of the story starts, and the whole thing is charming and funny, done with a sense of mature sense of humour - it's nice to appreciate a light hearted comedy where light hearted doesn't automatically mean it's for kids or morons.

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