I will admit that I’m not the biggest James Bond person. Not that I don’t like the films, but they’re just okay for me. It might be because I’m not a big action person. However, I have seen some of the Bond films, in fact, I’ve seen all of Pierce Brosnan’s Bond films. I remember “Goldeneye” being a big thing in 1995, especially when it came to the Nintendo 64, the hot video game system of middle school. But I digress. My first introduction to Pierce was not James Bond. My first introduction to Pierce was when he played Sally Field’s new beau in Mrs. Doubtfire. I remember thinking how Sally was a lucky woman–her new boyfriend was hot!
In Mrs. Doubtfire, Sally Field plays Miranda Hillard, a successful San Francisco-based interior decorator. She is married to Daniel Hillard, a freelance-voice actor, played by the late Robin Williams. At the beginning of the film, Miranda and Daniel separate after he goes way over the top in a birthday celebration for their son. It’s the last straw for Miranda, who needs a responsible, reliable husband–not another, larger, child. She and Daniel separate and Miranda files for divorce. Daniel’s hopes for shared custody is based on his finding a suitable home and reliable employment within three months.
Needing someone to help keep the house in order and to watch the children, Miranda decides that she is going to hire a housekeeper/nanny. Daniel gets wind of this and concocts a scheme to put his voice acting skills to work and apply for the position. He gets his brother Frank, a makeup artist, to create a prosthetic mask and padding to bring “Mrs. Doubtfire” (Daniel’s female alter ego) to life. Mrs. Doubtfire applies for the position, wins over Miranda, and has the job. After a couple rough days, Mrs. Doubtfire hits her stride and is soon an irreplaceable member of the family.
Unfortunately for Daniel, Miranda has moved onto a new beau, Stuart “Stu” Dunmeyer, played by the super hot Pierce Brosnan. Sorry Robin Williams fans, as awesome as he was, he does not compete with Pierce Brosnan in the looks department–get it, Sally Field! There is a funny scene where Stu takes Miranda and the kids to the country club to swim. Depressed at the sight of seeing another man romancing his estranged wife and children, Mrs. Doubtfire downs drinks at the bar. At one point, after hearing a rude remark made about him by Stu, he throws a lime at the back of Stu’s head, then claims there was a “run-by fruiting” when Stu turns around in anger.
I think the film tries to somewhat portray Stu as a villain for comedic effect. However, he’s not really a villain in the sense that he’s purposely doing anything bad. However, he will be the factor that will ruin Daniel’s chances at reconciliation. While Daniel is trying to improve his life and meet the court requirements for joint custody, what he wants is to be back with his family; however Stu looks like he’ll be blocking that goal. And Stu isn’t just trying to hook up with old flame Miranda. After a business associate makes a comment about Miranda “having baggage” (i.e. three children), Stu corrects him, stating that he’s crazy about Miranda and her children.
Daniel’s behavior toward Stu reinforces Miranda’s decision to divorce him, in my opinion. Here is a grown man, who yes, is upset that Stu is taking his place as the patriarch, but he responds by throwing fruit, flipping Stu the bird, stating that Stu achieved his physique with liposuction, pulling the emblem off the hood of Stu’s Mercedes, and then truly takes things too far at Miranda’s birthday dinner. Daniel learns of Stu’s allergy to pepper. Daniel is at the restaurant to attend both a dinner/meeting with his new boss and as Mrs. Doubtfire to celebrate Miranda’s birthday. He ducks into the kitchen, finds Stu’s dinner and sprinkles pepper all over it. Stu is handed his dinner, takes a bite, and immediately starts choking. He is truly at risk of dying and Daniel finally realizes what he’s done and saves Stu’s life via the heimlich maneuver. Unfortunately for Daniel, the jig is up as Mrs. Doubtfire when his prosthetic mask is torn from his face while saving Stu. This brings us to the greatest line in the film:
MIRANDA: Oh my god! Oh my god! The whole time?! The whole time?! THE WHOLE TIME?! I have to go. We have to leave now. We have to go. I have to leave. We have to leave.Sally Field as Miranda Hillard in “Mrs Doubtfire” (1993).
By the end of the film, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that Miranda and Stu will continue seeing one another. Thankfully, Miranda and Daniel are able to resolve their differences enough that Miranda gives Daniel the housekeeper/nanny job so that he can see his children every day after school. The children can also see their father, via his “Mrs. Doubtfire” persona, which is a new hit children’s show in the local San Francisco market. It would have been easy for the filmmakers to turn Stu into a villain, make him slimy and gross, only wanting to hook up with Miranda for sex, her money, her business, etc. But the film doesn’t do that, Stu is presented as a stand-up guy, and we as the audience aren’t disappointed that Miranda might find a new father for her children. Both she and Daniel are better off in their new arrangement. And Miranda, who at the beginning of the film expressed how unhappy and angry she was in her marriage to Daniel, and how it made her act and feel, will finally get a chance at happiness. She’s found a man who brings what she needs to the table, and we cannot help but root for her and Stu.
9 thoughts on “You Knew My Name: The Bond, Not Bond Blogathon- Pierce Brosnan in “Mrs. Doubtfire” (1993)”
Yay, was so happy to read this I totally agree, I loved Brosnan in this. His character is unjustifiably picked on… Daniel really annoyed me with his behaviour and reminded me of Julia Roberts in My Best Friend’s Wedding. Rant over, and thanks for joining the blogathon.
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Thanks for liking this Chris want to join Team Stu?
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A really well thought out and humorous review. I didn’t used to like Pierce’s character when I watched the film as a child, but as an adult I absolutely agree that Stu is the far more desirable man in comparison to Robin Williams’ perpetual man child. I actually watched this film the other day, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thank you for your contribution to our Blogathon!
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I love this movie and I am so glad you wrote about it because I think Pierce’s performance here is really underrated! Even as a little kid watching this movie (totally susceptible to the villain trope) I found it impossible to hate him by the end of the movie. Stu and Miranda make sense together. And it’s a very zany, rollercoaster ride to depicting an amicable divorce where Daniel was able to let go and be friendly with his ex for the good of their kids.
Excellent review! Before I watched Mrs. Doubtfire for myself, I had heard from a family member that Stu was a jerk/villain…but then I actually watched the film and was pleasantly surprised to find that he’s actually a nice guy! (That he’s played by Pierce Brosnan certainly doesn’t hurt matters. *wink*) Really enjoyed this post. ❤
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I like Brosnan more as I get older. Dismissed him as a pretty boy when younger, but there is more to him. This was a role he played well.
I adore this movie and everyone in it. Of course, Robin Williams is absolutely masterful and iconic and carries the movie but Sally Field also gets her drama queen moment at the end, recreating both her famous schizophrenic Sybil character and Steel Magnolias hysteria to great comic effect. Fierstein is a great cameo, and Pierce Brosnan plays an excellent straight man to zany Robin’s comic stylings. (Mr. Brosnan also looks very at home in a black speedo, I might add!)
Great addition to the Blogathon. I think the non-Bond roles are the ones these actors enjoy playing the most!