"The Birdcage" is all about the form, and will brazenly shift its focus and kill off any potential substance in any of its characters for a few mainstream laughs. It's also all about conformity, and will avoid dealing with any provocative confrontation. Nichols did, however, manage to find a non-excessive and amusing balance, well paced, with a couple of comedy gems carefully hidden.
Rather too late to this particular cabaret despite enthusiastic playing and, perhaps too smooth, production values. As farce its generally leaden and is largely carried on the shriekingly unsubtle performance by Lane. One of Hollywood's short lived and microscopic flirtations in the 1990s with gayer subject matters; a flirtation failing at first base let alone foreplay.
Maybe I'm childish, maybe you're boring, but I genuinely found this film laugh out loud funny just for its sheer ridiculousness. Granted the performances of Williams, Lane and Azaria carry the entire thing and without them it would definitely be the worst thing ever, but with them, its just a delightful farce, clearly not to be taken overly seriously. "I'm very maternal. And Albert's practically a breast." Classic.