It’s time for another round of awkward family meeting. And while “The Birdcage” does fall along the familiar lines of what happens when a newly engaged man wants his fiance to meet the parents, Nichols’ film doesn’t stop with the outstanding one-liners and brilliant performances from the cast.
Robin Williams plays Armand Goldman, a gay nightclub owner in South Beach, Fla. He and his partner, Albert (Nathan Lane), live together in the apartment upstairs, and the two have been a couple for roughly 20 years. Armand is calm and confident about everything in life, while Albert is the worrywart. Their son, Val (Dan Futterman), makes a surprise appearance to inform them that he is engaged to a woman (Calista Flockhart).
And, of course, he wants her to meet them, and, in turn, they will meet her parents. But there’s a bit of a problem: Her parents are the ultra conservative Senator Kevin Keely (Gene Hackman) and his wife, Louise (Dianne Wiest). So, Armand and Albert have to play it straight. But Val’s real mother (Christine Baranski) also wants to get involved. Oh, boy, it’s going to be one crazy weekend.
Lane is a riot as Albert, whose sanity is maintained by gay housekeeper Agador (Hank Azaria), or “Agador Spartacus, his full name,” as he is later called. Lane and Williams are great together, and the laughs don’t stop when they are forced to play a straight couple. One great moment is when Lane tries to walk like a straight person, and the person he tries to embody is John Wayne. Of course, he doesn’t quite get it right.
The picture and sound transfer are great on Blu-ray, and there never is a moment where it feels off. Unfortunately, the only special feature is the film’s original trailer. With the film’s 20-year anniversary coming up, one has to wonder if Fox is preparing for a bigger, special edition of “The Birdcage.”