Mrs. Doubtfire has somehow become one of the most popular family comedy films of the 20th century. But the moment that you hold the Mrs. Doubtfire plot under even the most minor bit of scrutiny it completely falls apart. This is just one of the reasons why Mrs. Doubtfire sucks. Viewing the film within the context of the modern world, it’s not hard to find Mrs. Doubtfire mean-spirited and painfully unfunny. It’s disappointing that so many talented people worked on a film that seems dedicated to making the audience hate comedy.
Is Mrs. Doubtfire offensive? In every sense of the word, yes. Whether you’re turned off by the film’s lack of narrative follow-through, or the privilege that Robin Williams’s character, Daniel Hillard, carries throughout the film, there’s something for everyone to hate in this hit family classic. Vote up the most f*cked up things you never realized about Mrs. Doubtfire.
Could Robin Williams' attempted murder of Pierce Brosnan be folded into any of the other horrible things about Mrs. Doubtfire? Sure. But this is poor decision-making at another level, and it deserves to be fully dissected. Drunk off of the success of his scheme (and alcohol), Robin Williams traipses through the kitchen of a fancy restaurant and cavalierly pours cayenne pepper on Pierce Brosnan's meal because he's such a petty human that he wants to ruin everyone's dinner.
At this point in the film, Daniel is nothing more than a Taco Bell employee that sneezes in the lettuce because of the lulz; he's a menace that has to be stopped. But he doesn't realize how terrible of a person he's been until Brosnan begins to choke to death on the over-seasoned shrimp. Never mind the concerns that this scene raises about Brosnan's lack of smell, the real bother is that Daniel is presented as the hero of the film for attempting to kill his romantic rival and then saving his life because he's too much of a coward to pull the trigger on his plan.
By the end of the movie, no one cares that Robin Williams was wearing the world's most expensive disguise to follow their every move and trick them into loving him again. The kids seem to think it's actually cool, and Sally Field finds it downright charming. A television executive even thinks it's such a great idea that he gives Mrs. Doubtfire a television show. What's wrong with this picture other than everything?
And more to the point, no one in this movie seems to know what Robin Williams looks like. Sure, he's buried under pounds of latex, but the face hasn't been changed all that much. It seems like all you would have to do to alleviate this issue is film a scene where someone says, "You look like my dad," or whatever, and then Mrs. Doubtfire plays air guitar with a vacuum cleaner. Was the Hillard family's home life so fractured that no one looked at anyone in the face? Who knew that Mrs. Doubtfire would be a visual representation of the unraveling of the nuclear family?
Every terrible thing that happens in Mrs. Doubtfire could have been nipped in the bud if Daniel had even the most remote amount of responsibility. He could have had a petting zoo birthday party at his house without anyone getting mad if he'd simply run it by Sally Field. He would still have a job if he voiced his concerns about the script with the producers when he read it. Even if he had gotten divorced, he would have been able to share custody of his children if he acted like an adult at any moment in his life.
But instead, he flails through the film like a plastic bag in the wind and somehow ends up being offered his own television show by the head of a small network in San Francisco. Great. All Williams has to do at this point in the film is take that meeting, prepare for it, and not double book himself. Obviously, because Daniel is a child, he agrees to have dinner with his family (as Mrs. Doubtfire) at the same time as he's meeting with the exec; obviously, hijinks ensue. If Daniel had just quit his nanny position he could have had a successful meeting, gotten his show, and not turned everyone's evening (and life, really) into a living nightmare.