Released in 1996, The Birdcage, available now on Blu-ray, is director Mike Nichols contemporary adaptation of the classic "La Cage Aux Folles" and it is still charmingly relevant, hysterically audacious and stands up well as a modern film classic all of its own. Surprisingly for a movie that emerged before "marriage equality," the toppling of DADT, or any of the modern contraptions associated with our historically proceeding Gay Civil Rights movement, and features an all-star cast, hits every note with passionate ease.
When prodigal son Val (Dan Futterman) announces that he’s getting married, he puts his same-sex parents in quite the predicament. You see, his finance, played by an ingenue Calista Flockhart, is the daughter of a right-wing conservative senator (Gene Hackman) running for reelection and caught in the midst of a terrible scandal. To disassociate themselves from the melee, the senator’s wife (Dianne Wiest) suggest that the announcement of a wedding is just what they to deflect the press.
What could go wrong, except that Val’s two dads are a big-time South Beach club owner, winningly portrayed by comedian Robin Williams, and his cabaret star is non-other than his life-partner Nathan Lane -- who performs every night in drag! As any good parents who want to do anything to make their son happy, Val encourages his two dads to try to "butch things up," but the G-string touting house boy Agador (a bulked up and tanned Hank Azaria) can’t walk in dress shoes and refuses to put on a dinner jacket unless he’s made a part of the show!
When Val’s "real mom" (Christine Baranski) is late for dinner, push comes to shove and Albert (Lane’s swishy queen) does what she does best, donning her wig and clutching her pearls to be the mother that Val may not have wanted, but always had. Hilarity ensues as is the case with the best laid plans, and when all is revealed, Albert must sweep in (again) to save the night!
Beautifully transferred to hi-definition "The Birdcage" encapsulates an era of innocence and speaks volumes of the distance that we’ve come as a culture. Any child with two mommies, or two daddies, will easily relate and joyfully revel in the changing dynamic of our American family. After all, you can’t stop the beat, and a bird must be let out of its cage in order to fly. Plug this Blu-ray in and visit "The Birdcage" -- there’s no drink minimum!
"The Birdcage," starring Robin Williams and Nathan Lane,
is available on Blu-ray for $19.99.