Thursday, 17 April 2014

Hollywood Babble On & On #1139: Mrs. Doubtfire Returns

Fox 2000 has commissioned a writer to develop a script for Mrs. Doubtfire 2, a sequel to the 1993 comedy starring Robin Williams. 

If you don't have basic cable, where the first film has been running on a loop for the last 20 years, it's the story of an unemployed actor who lost custody of his children because of his irresponsibility, so he puts on an elaborate disguise as an old British lady to become their nanny, and G to light PG  rated hilarity ensues.

Reports say that the studio has been sniffing around the idea of a sequel since the original raked in over $200+ million domestic but struggled to come up with a decent premise since (SPOILER ALERT) the original film has a happy ending.

One can imagine what the studio is thinking to jump into a sequel 20 years later, when the star is struggling to keep a sitcom on the air. I can imagine to pitch meeting:
PRESIDENT: We need a new movie. Something original and daring! 
EXECUTIVE: If an original movie flops, you could get fired.
PRESIDENT: Good point. Have a new Mercedes. We need a new remake or a sequel. Something where I can deny making any mistakes when it flops, and blame it on the market research people. 
EXECUTIVE: (looks through list) We haven't done a Mrs. Doubtfire sequel yet.
PRESIDENT: Wasn't it a one joke premise that is all wrapped up nicely with a happy ending?
EXECUTIVE: More or less.
PRESIDENT: What will be the new movie's premise?
EXECUTIVE: We could have Robin Williams disguise himself as an actor with a viable movie career…
PRESIDENT: Hmmmm… Sounds edgy, daring, and inventive. I HATE IT! 
EXECUTIVE: We could just pay some writer to come up with a reason for him to dress up like an old lady again.
PRESIDENT: PERFECT! Give it a green light and a $100 million budget. We don't want to spend to much on it, times are tight.
EXECUTIVE: You got it boss!
In case you missed it, there are pretty good reasons why it's hard to make a sequel to a family comedy, especially 20 years later.

1. TIME: It's literally been 20 years since the last movie. It's quite believable for the Williams character to be a grandparent. So what's the premise? He has to disguise himself as an old lady to spend time with his grandchildren, who he can't normally see because his meth-head oldest child lost custody and got a restraining order against the whole family. Sounds more depressing than ever.

2. HAPPY ENDING: The first film ended with him restoring his connection with his kids, and having success as an actor. So why must his character don a disguise as an old lady? Did he lose everything, is he on the run from the mob, have his kids disowned him and forbidden him from seeing his grandkids? Either way, the happy ending that had been earned through his comical trials has hence been declared all for nothing. That created a subconscious sense in the audience that they'd been kinda cheated, and many will just stay home.

3. ONE JOKE: That's all the original had. Sure, it may have seemed original and novel at the time, but it's been done to death over the last 20 years.

I wish Hollywood wasn't ruled by greed and fear, then maybe they might be willing to try something original and novel again.

But I doubt it.

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