Kids show host Rainbow Randolph is fired in disgrace while his replacement, Sheldon Mopes, aka Smoochy the Rhino, finds himself a rising star. Unfortunately for Sheldon, the kid's TV business isn't all child's play.
When his son's body is found in a humiliating accident, a lonely high school teacher inadvertently attracts an overwhelming amount of community and media attention after covering up the truth with a phony suicide note.
Armand Goldman owns a popular drag nightclub in South Miami Beach. His long-time lover Albert stars there as Starina. "Their" son Val (actually Armand's by his one heterosexual fling, twenty years before) comes home to announce his engagement to Barbara Keely, daughter of Kevin Keely, US Senator, and vice president of the Committee for Moral Order. The Senator and family descend upon South Beach to meet Val and his father and "mother..." and what ensues is comic chaos. Written by
Randy Goldberg <email@example.com>
Though nothing can beat "La Cage aux Folles," the film on which this American version is based, I still found "The Birdcage" delightful fun and hilarious at times, thanks to the comic geniuses of Robin Williams and Nathan Lane. Lane is the dramatic Albert, an over the top drag queen who has lived for years with Robin Williams, Armand, the owner of The Birdcage, where Albert performs. Armand once had a liaison with a woman, which produced a son, Val, who now wants to be married to the daughter of a conservative politician. In order for that to occur, Armand has to become butch, all gay art work, etc., needs to exit the apartment - and Albert must disappear for a few days.
Williams is hilarious - my two favorite scenes are his rehearsal with Albert and a young man appearing with him on stage, and the scene where he coaches Armand on being macho - priceless. Nathan Lane's shtick is familiar to me, as I've seen him in "The Producers" and "The Odd Couple" - he's a riot as the insecure, jealous, easily hurt Albert.
The role of Val is problematic, because how does one keep him from looking like a complete bastard as he shuts out Armand, who raised him. But Dan Futterman and Calista Flockhart as Barbara make a lovely young couple. Gene Hackman and Dianne Wiest are very funny as Barbara's befuddled parents.
It's been a long time since I've seen the French "La Cage aux Folles," and I saw the musical on Broadway as well. The French is superior to any version. The musical is quite poignant and emphasizes its statement in the song, "I Am Who I Am." The joy of the French film is that the actors playing the lovers, Ugo Tognazzi and Michel Serrault, play their roles very seriously, and the humor and poignancy come out of the situation and the outrageousness of the Armand character (Albin/Zaza in the French). In "The Birdcage," it's played for comedy all the way. That's okay. You'll still enjoy it. But see the original.
21 of 24 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?