The Birdcage Movie Review

It's a rare event when a remake of a film rivals the greatness of the original. The Birdcage, based fairly closely on La Cage aux Folles, achieves just that, memorably updating the earlier film's script with modern humor and a distinctly American setting.

The story has been done a thousand times, but La Cage aux Folles was one of the originals. Armand Goldman (Robin Williams) is an openly gay drag club owner in South Beach, Florida. Albert (Nathan Lane, best known as the voice of the weasel in The Lion King), aka Starina, is Armand's feature performer...and his "wife." When Armand's son-via-one-night-stand Val (Dan Futterman) announces his impending marriage to Barbara (Calista Flockhart, a dead ringer for Audrey Hepburn), Armand freaks. When Barbara's arch-conservative parents (Gene Hackman and Dianne Wiest) drop by for a visit, it gets even worse.

The most choice parts of the story involve Albert's attempt at transforming his very non-butch persona into a faux "man," from his John Wayne swagger to his mustard-spreading technique. In the process, Lane manages to do what has heretofore been impossible: to upstage Robin Williams, who plays a distant second (or even third) fiddle to his costars. The potential second is an almost unrecognizable Hank Azaria as the couple's unbearably hilarious Guatemalan house boy.

Of course, bits and pieces are lacking in The Birdcage, most notably stuck-on subplots involving Val's real mother (Christine Baranski) and the tabloids coming after the gang, but on the whole the film is a hilarious modernization of its acclaimed predecessor.

And while The Birdcage isn't really what I'd call insulting to any particular group, don't expect any political correctness awards to be handed out for the film. Instead, just expect to hear a whole lot of light-hearted laughter.

Cast & Crew

Director :

Producer :


The Birdcage Rating

" Excellent "

Rating: R, 1996


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