32- “Mrs. Doubtfire” #52PickUp

For number thirty-two of the #52Pick-Up, I look into the 1993 classic that hit a little too close to home:


Mrs. Doubtfire was a seminal film in my life, coming at a time of great change, and yet still caused me to chuckle along the way.

Set in San Francisco, Doubtfire is about a man named Daniel Hillard, who after throwing a surprise birthday party for his only son of three kids (unbeknownst by their mother, Miranda), that shines a light for Miranda on the state of their marriage. She calls for divorce, and Daniel must start from the bottom by getting a stable job and an apartment, to prove to the court that he can be a stable living arrangement for their children. Meanwhile, he can only visit with his kids for a few hours a weekend, and is desperate to see them more, since “he hasn’t been away from them a single day.”

Would your Dad ever do something like this? *Shudder*

So he designs the titular Mrs. Doubtfire, an older Scottish/British woman, to work for his ex wife and watch the kids. He’s able to fool everyone… that is until he pees standing up and his son walks in on him. Whoops.

Or until his face started peeling off… Talk about trauma.

Mrs. Doubtfire was a film that married the drama of a film like Kramer vs. Kramer, with the goofy improv-like nature of Stripes.

The director, Chris Columbus had stated that the original ending had the parents getting back together, but they dropped it considering they didn’t want kids to get their hopes up (good thinking).

The film has become a 90s comedy classic, and was super successful at the box office landing at #2 overall in the year 1993 (right behind Jurassic Park), with $219 million domestically, and $441 million worldwide.

Here’s an extremely fascinating look a lawyer took in regards to the rulings of the court in the film.

Oh and if you’re interested, this film was the very first film of the youngest daughter Mara Wilson (Matilda), and that link is of her today.

And this is where I had first seen the son, Matthew Lawrence.

Where/ when did I first see it?

I first watched Mrs. Doubtfire as a nine year old (in 1994) on home video. The movie hit close to home, because a few months before its release in 1993, my own parents began their divorce proceedings.

The film was hilarious during that time when it was slapstick in nature, but during the sad, family-shattering moments of the film, it struck me hard, like a slap in the face.

How does it hold up?

The film was constructed around the random, improvisational comedic stylings of Robin Williams, and since some of his most famous riffs were born from this movie, I’d say it holds up incredibly well. And to be honest, it is evergreen in almost every regard, even with standard technology.

The story was well done also, because it struck an amazingly consistent tone between comedy and drama.

Hellooooo, comedy side! Make me forget my parents’ divorce!

What did I like about it and why?

It spoke to me on a whole other level than a typical comedy ever could. I went for the hilarious Robin Williams, and I left with so much more.

Plus, it was set in the same city I used to marvel at in Full House, San Francisco.

Lessons Learned?

  1. Divorces can be funny!
  2. Chris Columbus was on fire for quite a while.
  3. If you can’t uncover your Dad through make-up and a silly Scottish voice, then may God have mercy on your soul. I could always discern my Aunt Dinah from Santa Claus.


Where can you see it?

Check out Mrs. Doubtfire on CanIStream.It?

-Jamie (@GuyOnAWire)


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