Chris Columbus (USA, 1958) directed the comedies
Home Alone (1990), its lame sequel Home Alone 2 - Lost in New York (1992), and Mrs. Doubtfire (1993),
an adaptation of Anne Fine's novel "Alias Madame Doubtfire" (1987), mainly a
vehicle for comedian Robin Williams, with the typical Hollywood-ian sentimental happy ending.
Daniel has a job making voices for cartoons but loses it when he insists on
adding a line to warn children against smoking cigarettes. We can tell that
he keeps losing his jobs.
He picks up his three children from school: Lydia, Chris and little Natalie.
It is Chris' birthday and Daniel throws a wild party for him.
Meanwhile, his wife Miranda is a busy executive in a corporation.
A neighbor calls Miranda in the middle of an important meeting. Miranda
drives home and finds the police outside: they have been called because
Daniel's party is too noisy and Daniel even hired animals, including a donkey
that is eating the birthday cake. Furious that Daniel keeps making her life
harder, while failing to get a stable job, she tells him that she wants a
divorce. The judge assigns the children to the mother since the father has
neither a job nor a home.
To make things worse, a former boyfriend of Miranda, Stu, who, unlike her husband, got rich, flirts with her.
Daniel finds a humble, humiliating job at a TV station, not as an actor but
as a shipping boy.
Miranda informs Daniel that she is looking for a housekeeper and Daniel makes
sure she won't find one by changing the phone number on the newspaper advert.
Then he starts calling Miranda faking different voices, each time pretending
to be applying for the job but each time pretending to be a horrible housekeeper. Finally he calls her pretending to be a sweet English housekeeper and she invites him for an interview.
Daniel has a brother, Frank, who is gay and runs a costume shop. Frank prepares
a mask for Daniel to wear and provides him with women's clothes. Daniel becomes
Mrs Doubtfire. He fools his family at the interview and is enthusiastically accepted by Miranda, and so Daniel/Doubtfire becomes the nanny of his own children.
Unlike the old Daniel, who tolerated and even encouraged the children's laziness and who was responsible for the house's messy conditions, Mrs Doubtfire established discipline and tidiness. She pretends to be a good cook although in reality she has to buy the dinner from a restaurant.
When Miranda comes home, she is ecstatic. Miranda is happy and the children learn to like the nanny.
Daniel also cleans up his new apartment and is entitled to see the children
once a week at his apartment.
Meanwhile, Stu is courting Lydia and Mrs Doubtfire tries in every way to make
their dates fail.
One day Daniel's masquerade collapses when Chris sees Mrs Doubtfire peeing like a man in the bathroom. Chris tells Lydia and they are ready to call the police, which leaves Daniel no alternative than to remove mask and makeup and reveal
who he really is. He asks them not to tell their mother Miranda and not to tell little Natalie.
Since Daniel has two stable jobs and cleaned up his apartment, he asks Miranda if he could come back, but Miranda ironically tells him that she's happy with her wonderful housekeeper, Mrs Doubtfire.
One day Daniel is watching the boring performance of an actor at the TV station explaining dinosaurs to children and Daniel makes fun of the actor in front of an old man who is standing nearby. The old man turns out to be the owner of the TV station. Later he catches him playing with the dinosaurs and making funny voices. Instead of firing Daniel, Lundy listens to Daniel's ideas for how to make the program more interesting for children and invites him to a dinner.
At the same time Stu invites Miranda and the children to a dinner to celebrate Miranda's birthday and chooses the same restaurant at the same time. The family
insists that Mrs Doubtfire joins, and s/he cannot refuse.
Mrs Doubtfire shows up with a bag and during the dinner s/he changes back and forth between man and woman at the two tables. To make matters worse, Lundy is a heavy drinker and challeges Daniel at drinking lots of alcohol. Eventually Daniel forgets to change and returns to Lundy's table dressed like Mrs Doubtfire.
He has the genius of offering Lundy that Mrs Doubtfire could become the star
of the children's program. At the same time at the other table Daniel poisons Stu's food with pepper that Stu is allergic too. Stu is about to choke to death.
Daniel, still dressed like Doubtfire, rushes to help him and in doing so loses his mask and has to confess the charade to Miranda.
Miranda is furious to have been lied to all the time. There is a new hearing in
front of the judge. The judge is impressed that Daniel was such a good actor
but also believes that Daniel is acting even now, pretending to be a good
father, and so he assigns the children only to Miranda and further restricts
Daniel's rights on the children.
The children return to their melancholy home routine and Miranda cannot find
a housekeeper who would match Mrs Doubtfire's charm and skills.
One day Miranda and the kids see Mrs Doubtfire on television: Daniel got the job from Lundy and his children show rapidly becomes a hit.
Miranda is moved and visits the studio while Daniel is taping the show.
She tells him that the children need him. She surprised the children with a
new housekeeper: Daniel himself, not masquerading like Mrs Doubtfire.
Nine Months (1995)
Bicentennial Man (1999) is at the same time a sequel to
Mrs Doubtfire and a sort of Christmas fairy tale. The plot is
implausible and the acting stereotyped.
In a not so distant future, a wealthy family purchases a robot, Andrew,
who soon develops feelings. The family is uncomfortable with Andrew's
feelings, but the father appreciates them and the youngest daughter is
touched by them. Eventually Andrew becomes a wood sculptor. The child, Little
Miss, grows up and falls in love with him, but marries a man and has
children from him. One of the children is a girl, Portia, who looks like her.
In the meantime, Andrew has been virtually set free by the father who has
taught him how to start a business and make money out of his creations.
One day Andrew vouches his own freedom and moves out. He builds a house
by the beach. Years later, the father dies. Andrew is lonely and starts
a quest around the world for another robot with feelings. The quest lands
him in the lab of a scientist who is capable of building human-like robots.
Andrew funds his research and is turned into a human with a skin and a face.
He immediately goes to visit Little Miss and meets and falls in love with
Portia. Little Miss dies. Portia still rejects him because he is not truly
human. Andrew asks the scientist to develop real organs and replace his
clockwork with them. But the senate of the city decides that it is not enough:
he is immortal, and no human can be immortal. Andrew gives up immortality to
be allowed to marry Portia legally, as a human. He dies in his bed, holding
Portia's hand, while the jury finally accepts his application for humanity.
(Translated by/ Tradotto da Daniela Tosi)
L'Uomo Bicentenario (1999) è al tempo stesso il seguito di
<b>Mrs Doubtfire</b> e una specie di racconto di Natale. La trama è poco
plausibile e la recitazione stereotipata.
In un futuro non lontano una famiglia benestante compera un robot, Andrew,
che ben presto sviluppa dei sentimenti. Questo cambiamento mette a disagio la
famiglia, ma il padre apprezza la sensibilità di Andrew che colpisce profondamente anche
la figlia più piccola. Andrew diventa poi scultore, realizzando lavori in legno. La bambina,
Little Miss, cresce e si innamora di lui ma poi sposa un altro uomo e da questo matrimonio
nascono dei figli. Una di questi, Portia, le assomiglia molto.
Nel frattempo, Andrew è stato in pratica liberato dal padre che gli ha
insegnato come aprire un'attività, guadagnando grazie alle sue creazioni.
Un giorno Andrew decide di usufruire della sua libertà, se ne va e costruisce una casa
vicino alla spiaggia. Anni dopo, il padre muore. Andrew si sente solo e comincia
a cercare per il mondo un altro robot con sentimenti. La sua ricerca lo porta
nel laboratorio di uno scienziato che riesce a costruire robot con sembianze umane.
Andrew finanzia le ricerche dello scienziato e viene trasformato in un essere umano dotato di
pelle e di un viso. Si reca subito da Little Miss dove incontra Portia di cui si
innamora. Little Miss muore. Portia però rifiuta Andrew perché non è del tutto umano.
Andrew chiede allo scienziato di svil! uppare organi veri e di sostituire con quelli
il suo meccanismo a orologeria. Ma il consiglio della città decide che questo non può bastare:
Andrew è immortale e nessun essere umano può essere immortale. Andrew rinuncia all'immortalità
per poter sposare Portia legalmente, da umano. Muore nel suo letto, mentre Portia
gli tiene la mano e proprio quando il tribunale accetta finalmente di riconoscerlo come