Talent alone does not assure a great film or even a good film. When there is a great tale and a great cast, all that is needed for a wonderful film is in hand, and, 'The Birdcage", has the needed ingredients in abundance. Gene Hackman, Nathan Lane, Diane Wiest, and Robin Williams are just the start of an exceptional ensemble cast. Dan Futterman does a wonderful job as the son who is about to marry a young woman in the film, who has since become very well known as the star of, "Ally Mcbeal", Calista Flockhart. An in a performance that deserves to be mentioned on its own, Hank Azaria steals virtually every scene he appears in.
Gene Hackman is a US Senator that is so conservative that he thinks Robert Dole is not only dark but too liberal, and even the Pope is too controversial. Now take his daughter who is going to marry Val no matter what her parents feel, and add that both of Val's parents are men, you can imagine the fireworks. The male couple is comprised of Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, and they are as funny a duo as have played onscreen together. I hope another film or perhaps a theater opportunity presents itself for these two actors to work together, as they are brilliant, both alone and as a pair.
Much of the film surrounds a massive effort at deception and takes large roundhouse swipes at every political cliché, the more to the right or left, the more damage the position will suffer. The film is an absolute riot from beginning to end; you will be hard pressed to find a funnier one hour and 59 minutes of comedy with a cast of this caliber in another film.