The Birdcage

From Academic Kids

The Birdcage is a 1996 movie (a re-make of La Cage aux Folles) which starred Robin Williams, Nathan Lane, Dianne Wiest, Christine Baranski, Calista Flockhart, Gene Hackman, Dan Futterman, and Hank Azaria. The script was by Elaine May, adapted from La Cage Aux Folles’ screenplay by Jean Poiret and Francis Veber, and the film was directed by Mike Nichols.

Val Goldman and Barbara Keely are about to get married, so they have their families meet each other. Val's dad, Armand, is a gay nightclub owner in South Beach and lives with his lover, Albert. Barbara's father is a conservative Republican US Senator (who sees Bob Dole as being too liberal) up for relection and the co-founder of the Coalition For Moral Order. The Keely's are driving down to South Beach, Flordia to meet the Goldman family (after the founder of the Coalition for Moral Order dies in the dead of an "underage, black whore") and Val persuade his father (Williams) to pretent to be as stuff and conservative as the Keely family.

Initially Williams refuses to lie about who he is, but in the end he agrees to the charde in order to make his son happy. Val gets his mother, Katherine Archer, to accompany him to meet Barbara's conservative parents. However, she gets stuck in traffic and Albert dresses up as a womam that appears to be an older Margret Thatcher. At dinner the guest talk about politics and Albert demonstrates his conservative politics, while Williams and his son panic over the dinner, the possiblity that Katherine could appear at any moment and the fact that not all of the homoerotic images have been completly removed from the house.

Eventually Katherine walks in and introduces herself as Val's mother, at which point Val takes off Albert's wig. The Keely are shocked that Albert is really a man (and that they are really Jewish) and they are about to leave when the tabloid media shows up and plans to catch the conservative U.S. Seantor in a public scandle.

In the end, the Keely's come to understand why the ruse was concocked and Wiliams is able to sneak the Keely family past the media circus by having them all dress up in drag. It does end happily with the two of them marrying in a Jewish ceremony. Although it remains to be seen if the Keely's have changed their political views on gay rights.

A special version censored for television broadcast uses special effects to change the thongs worn by various extras into baggier swimwear. The television version often includes some deleted and extended scenes.


Albert: Oh, yes. What an ugly story. Of course, we don't believe a word of it. He was obviously framed!

Senator Keely: That's just what Rush Limbaugh said!

Albert: Oh?

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