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Headscratchers / Mrs. Doubtfire

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  • How could Daniel call the petting zoo and invite all the small children in the neighborhood over in a mere five minutes to celebrate in the infamous party he threw only to risk his marriage over?
    • He planned ahead. He probably arranged everything in secret, making sure Miranda wouldn't find out about anything. The real question is: why did he even book the petting zoo in the first place? Right afterwards, Miranda and Daniel's argument suggests that he's done things as crazy as this several times before. If this were the first time Daniel had screwed up, Miranda would have probably forgiven him, but the petting zoo results in Miranda admitting that he's ruined her life and wants divorce. You would think that by that point, Daniel would know it would upset Miranda and wouldn't want to risk ruining his relationship.
      • If Daniel was capable of making mature, rational decisions then the entire plot would never have happened. It's pretty much the whole reason his marriage fails.
  • How is Mrs. Doubtfire being paid? She has no identification, no bank account, no 1099 forms...
    • Related: didn't Miranda check Mrs. Doubtfire's references?
    • Mrs. Doubtfire's references were in England and this was before Google so they weren't as easy to look up. Plus Miranda was easily won over by Mrs. Doubtfire so she may not have felt the need to check the references. As for the money issue, it's possible Daniel/Mrs. Doubtfire asked to be paid in cash so as to avoid any problems with the bank.
    • Daniel made her out to be a very stereotypical Cool Old Lady type, one of the stereotypes of them is that they "don't trust banks" and prefer cash in a secure place in their homes, also I'm sure if Miranda had needed references he would use his brothers number or something and answer the phone himself in another character.
  • Why did Frank and Jack waste so much time (and materials) experimenting with so many vastly different looks when trying to come up with the Mrs. Doubtfire disguise (other than, y'know, a few minutes of letting Robin Williams be Robin Williams)? Professional prosthetic makeup is expensive, and each of those looks would have taken hours! The best thing would have been to ask Daniel what sort of character he was going for, come up with a few designs on paper, and work from there.
    • And also, Daniel had already got an interview using the Mrs Doubtfire voice/persona, so there was no point at all to him doing all those Cuban, Russian and Jewish accents. Critics like Roger Ebert said one of the movie's flaws is that it stops dead in its tracks three times to allow Robin Williams a few minutes of being Robin Williams.
      • The accents were almost certainly just Daniel joking around, inventing characters he thought matched up with each disguise (underscoring the failure to nail the "Doubtfire" look with each attempt), rather than potential alternatives to the persona he had already created.
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    • The timeframe can only be explained as artistic license. The real life Doubtfire makeup took hours of preparation, but in-universe we see Daniel putting it on and off in a matter of minutes at a time.
  • When Daniel's reaction to shoving the cigarette into Pudgy's mouth gets questioned. His boss and daughter Lydia reply "actors" What exactly did they mean by that?
    • Actors can be annoying for directors I guess.
    • Most definitely confirmed—while some directors work with their actors on a personal level, others simply want actors to say their lines and get on with the job; Daniel's boss was clearly in the latter camp. Lydia's saying it also foreshadows Miranda's remarks later that Daniel frequently lost acting jobs because of his refusal to compromise.
  • How the heck did Daniel land a job at the end? In the 1990s, could you really get away with having a hairy man play an elderly Englishwoman in a children's program? Surely him posing as an old woman to see his kids would be on the 6 o' clock news. He got caught at the end.
    • Why couldn't they have him do that? And why would it be on the news?
      • Let's see, you have a father posing as a nanny in order to see his kids. There were people who witnessed an "elderly woman" saving a guy from choking by performing the Heimlich manoeuvre, causing her mask to fall off. Yelp, totally not newsworthy.
      • This was years before camera phones existed, so nothing could be shown. I doubt the restaurant wanted to bring that kind of publicity to itself and wouldn't publicize it. Nor would many people dining would feel that it was something especially newsworthy except an exceptionally strange family argument. On the surface, there was nothing illegal about anything that happened there, unless Miranda wanted to press charges against Daniel for violating their custody arrangement, which she was too shocked to do at the time. And how often do you hear about custody disputes on the news, unless they involve celebrities or kidnapping/murder?
  • Miranda says they have nothing in common, and I agree with her. Daniel is a clownish immature guy, and Miranda is a serious mature woman. Here's the headscratcher...if they have nothing in common, why the heck did she marry him, and have his kids? She would have broken it off with him on the first date. I'm surprised their relationship lasted that long.
    • Explained in-story. Miranda fell in love with Daniel because he was so funny and carefree, which balanced out her strictness. However, over time, the charm wore off and their differences became more pronounced. It's a pretty realistic look at the whole "opposites attract" thing.
  • Not like it really matters to the story all that much, but I wonder if Lydia and Chris were aware of the fact that Daniel had both the dinner date with the family, as well as the business dinner with Lundy. Seems like something he might've let them in on.
    • It's possible that Daniel was under so much pressure himself that he figured that having to account for the schedule conflict might have caused Chris and Lydia to inadvertently give Daniel away in the heat of the moment.
    • From the looks on the kids' faces while they watch their father's comings and goings, they seem as confused as everyone else, so it doesn't seem Daniel let them in on the other side of his evening's plans.
  • What happened after the reveal at the restaurant? Did he resume his dinner with Lundy? Surely Lundy must have witnessed it all and yet he still decided to give Daniel his own show?
    • Lundy was desperate to have a hit show so he probably didn't care about Daniel's personal life so long as he kept kids entertained and the network's ratings up.
    • By that moment Daniel has already shown himself as Mrs. Doubtfire and explained that he intended to make her the host of the new show (after accidentally showing up at his table in disguise, but managed to convince Lundy that was his plan all along). So Lundy just saw that Daniel saved a man from choking and ended in a fight with the woman. If Daniel said something like "She is my ex-wife", Lundy probably wouldn't press for more information and continue their dinner.
    • As for “what happened next”, a deleted scene shows Daniel, still in his Doubtfire garb, arriving back at Steiner Street in a taxi to speak with Miranda
  • How come Daniel was mindful enough to fabricate a professional background for his nanny persona prior to his phone interview with Miranda but had to improvise a name when asked?
    • He didn't think that far ahead. He was so focused on sounding credible to Miranda that he didn't bother to think of a name until the last second.
  • Stu, played as an Englishman by Pierce Brosnan, asks Mrs. Doubtfire "What part of England do you come from?" even though anybody from the British Isles would know she is speaking with a Scottish accent.
    • He was low-key grilling Effie because he thought her accent sounded fake, but not fake enough to be like THIS IS A FRAUD!
      • Or he could just be curious as people who moved around different regions of a country often assimilate parts of that accent unintentionally. My grandma knew a German woman who assimilated several parts of a London accent, then several words from a Geordie dialect, but instead of saying whey aye (of course) she said Vy aye.
    • Mrs Doubtfire explicitly tells Miranda she is from England, so if Miranda told Stu this then he probably took it as read. An out-of-universe explanation is that England is sometimes conflated with Great Britain, particularly in American media (in fact, this occurs near the end of the movie in the show-within-a-film, where England is inaccurately described as an island). No-one raising the inconsistency of Doubtfire’s English origin with her Scottish accent might therefore be due to Critical Research Failure on the part of the writers.
    • Daniel seems to realize that his accent is one he's essentially invented—when Stu presses him further about it, he (as Mrs. Doubtfire) stammers out that she's moved house many times in her life, which explains why "her" accent is so inconsistent. Like the above poster said, Stu probably assumes that she's picked up several cues from different accents (as Henry Higgins would happily tell you, accents are an important part in British culture).
  • Why in the world would Daniel, while babysitting the kids in his Mrs. Doubtfire disguise, pee while standing up? He was just asking to get busted.
    • He had become complacent and forgot that it was no longer his house so he neglected to lock the door.
  • One of the women Miranda and her kids interview as a housekeeper (to replace Mrs. Doubtfire) near the end of the film says she can't do any cleaning or cooking or babysitting whatsoever (she even mentions she can't change diapers at one point). So what could she have done if they hired her?
    • Nothing. That was what made it so funny.
    • Basically she figured her job would be to sit around and call an ambulance if any of the kids started dying. Otherwise she was completely uninterested in actually working, thus showing exactly how lucky they'd been to have their previous nanny.
  • I just thought of this, but why didn't Daniel/Mrs. Doubtfire just call Miranda and tell her she was too sick to go to Bridges that Friday night? That way Daniel could've met Mr Lundy and he wouldn't have had to deal with the hassle of switching the two roles.
    • Because Miranda already put the guilt trip on him and would have done so again if he tried to get out of it again. Also the littlest child had pleaded with Mrs. Doubtfire to come and Daniel's driving force in life is to not disappoint his kids.
  • How did Miranda get Daniel "hired" as his kids nanny at the end? The supervision ruling was ordered by the judge, not Miranda, so unless she went to the Judge afterwards and got it overturned in record time, she is violating a court order.
    • That's exactly what she did and it's even briefly confirmed in the family discussion at the end.


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