The Birdcage: Everett Collection

The Birdcage (1996)

June 18, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

Funny film dads: Robin Williams and Nathan Lane in ”The Birdcage”

PLAYED BY Robin Williams (Armand, left), and Nathan Lane (Albert, right)

WHO ARE THEY? Armand, who runs a Miami drag club, and Albert, who stars in the revue there, are appalled when they learn that son Val wants to marry Barbara, a woman whose father is a conservative U.S. senator. To please Val (and avoid scaring off his future in-laws), they come up with a novel way of passing themselves off as suitable parents.

SETTING AN EXAMPLE Val and Barbara aren’t the only ones who want to make their relationship legal. Armand makes a point of drawing up papers to formalize his longtime partnership with Albert.

EMBARRASSING MOMENT The entire dinner party with the in-laws that makes up the film’s latter half

FATHERLY ADVICE ”Oh, Vallie, this is such a shock,” Albert says upon learning of Val’s engagement. ”I’m not saying anything, I promised your father… But you’re only 20, and if you throw yourself away on some dormitory slut you’ll be sorry for the rest of your life. There, enough said, no more, subject closed.”

WHY YOU’LL WATCH Scene-stealer Lane and a surprisingly, um, straight Williams offer a hilarious and expansive display of family values.

MORE FATHERLY FUN Williams is another gender-role-bending dad in Mrs. Doubtfire (1993); Lane plays a paternal agent to a roster of child actors in Life With Mikey (1993).

EW MOVIE GRADE A-

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