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View Full Version : Mrs. Doubtfire - did Robin Williams commit a crime?


Pitchmeister
02-12-2013, 03:15 PM
I watched Mrs. Doubtfire again last night (you may now mock me for having thoroughly enjoyed it) and the following question came to me:

After he is exposed, Robin Williams' character doesn't really suffer any consequences other than the family judge saying his lifestyle was "highly unorthodox". Is this just Hollywood license, or did he really not break any laws in his performance as Mrs. Doubtfire?

Leaper
02-12-2013, 03:19 PM
Against whom would he have committed any crime? IIRC, most of the crimes I can think of would've been against his wife, and I doubt she'd be inclined to press charges, given her children, apparent personality, and events of the film.

The Second Stone
02-12-2013, 03:23 PM
If hammy acting is a crime, then Robin Williams is a recidivist.

Odesio
02-12-2013, 03:25 PM
Against whom would he have committed any crime? IIRC, most of the crimes I can think of would've been against his wife, and I doubt she'd be inclined to press charges, given her children, apparent personality, and events of the film.

This was a woman who did her best to make sure her kids spent as little time with her father as possible. Not because he was evil but because he was immature. You'd think she'd try to throw the book at him and prevent him from ever seeing his kids again.

Maus Magill
02-12-2013, 03:25 PM
At the very least I would say fraud and possibly forgery. He presented himself as another person, and (unless his wife was employing him under the table (another crime), he filled out his W-4s as Mrs Doubtfire.

muldoonthief
02-12-2013, 03:27 PM
This was a woman who did her best to make sure her kids spent as little time with her father as possible. Not because he was evil but because he was immature. You'd think she'd try to throw the book at him and prevent him from ever seeing his kids again.

She did. The judge essentially banned him from seeing the kids again, and his ex-wife went along with it to punish him. It wasn't till the very end of the movie that she "forgave" him and let him be the after school guardian again.

alphaboi867
02-12-2013, 03:39 PM
This was a woman who did her best to make sure her kids spent as little time with her father as possible. Not because he was evil but because he was immature. You'd think she'd try to throw the book at him and prevent him from ever seeing his kids again.

She also hired a nanny/housekeeper without bothering to do a background check, check references, or ask to see ID. She's pretty far from mother-of-the-year material.

Pitchmeister
02-12-2013, 03:51 PM
She also hired a nanny/housekeeper without bothering to do a background check, check references, or ask to see ID. She's pretty far from mother-of-the-year material.

I'm willing to file that under "poetic license". If she had done those things, there wouldn't be a movie. I just have a hard time believing that there were no criminal laws broken. Pretending to be someone you're not in order to gain access to someone else's home (who specifically doesn't want you there) seems... off somehow.

BTW, has everybody seen the alternative trailer (http://youtu.be/N3bgipCebuI) to Mrs. Doubtfire? It casts a different light on the events of the film...

CaptMurdock
02-12-2013, 03:57 PM
IANAL, but... "fraud" would imply that he dressed as a woman and gave a false identity for financial gain. Clearly this is not the case: he just wanted to see his kids everyday. Try to impanel a jury to convict him on that.

That said, he might get a indictment against him for (and this is stretching it) custodial interference, due to seeing his kids outside the court-established visitation orders. OTOH, it's hard enough getting contempt orders enforced against deadbeat dads.

johnpost
02-12-2013, 03:58 PM
If hammy acting is a crime, then Robin Williams is a recidivist.

he does Jonathan Winters better than Jonathan Winters.

Simplicio
02-12-2013, 03:59 PM
I'm willing to file that under "poetic license". If she had done those things, there wouldn't be a movie. I just have a hard time believing that there were no criminal laws broken. Pretending to be someone you're not in order to gain access to someone else's home (who specifically doesn't want you there) seems... off somehow.

Off certainly, but I don't see any reason it would be illegal, assuming you aren't doing it to defraud someone. Merely lying isn't illegal.

James Otto Sweet Heart
02-12-2013, 04:20 PM
I don't know if what Daniel did was illegal, but when the judge gave his ex full custody, that pretty much ripped Daniel's heart out.

God bless you always!!!

Holly

P.S. Yeah his ex isn't much of a mother. A good mom would have tried to call the families that were written down on Mrs. Doubtfire's resume and then would have realized that the woman was a hoax.

TriPolar
02-12-2013, 04:31 PM
IANAL, but... "fraud" would imply that he dressed as a woman and gave a false identity for financial gain.

I don't remember many details of the movie, but did he/she work for free?

Rollo Tomasi
02-12-2013, 04:40 PM
I don't remember many details of the movie, but did he/she work for free?

He told the caseworker that he had two jobs: the film production company and "cleaning houses." So it's probably safe to assume that, no, he wasn't working for free.

Ethilrist
02-12-2013, 04:49 PM
He did perform a drive-by fruiting.

Bryan Ekers
02-12-2013, 05:36 PM
Aside from his acute case of being Robin Williams, why did the ex-wife dislike him?

Ethilrist
02-12-2013, 05:51 PM
Aside from his acute case of being Robin Williams, why did the ex-wife dislike him?

No specific cite (haven't seen it since it came out), but the synopsis on IMDB indicates his wife thought he was too goofy and immature. In other words, he was Robin Williams, so you had it right the first time.

Elendil's Heir
02-16-2013, 01:38 PM
I don't think he committed any crime. As the saying goes:

In a democracy, if it's not illegal, it's permitted.
In a dictatorship, if it's not illegal, it's compulsory.

If hammy acting is a crime, then Robin Williams is a recidivist.

He's certainly violated California's eleven-strikes-and-you're-out law.

IvoryTowerDenizen
02-16-2013, 01:46 PM
BTW, has everybody seen the alternative trailer (http://youtu.be/N3bgipCebuI) to Mrs. Doubtfire? It casts a different light on the events of the film...

Seems like that version should be a sequel to One Hour Photo...

leahcim
02-16-2013, 03:17 PM
He did perform a drive-by fruiting.

Technically, all he performed was a regular fruiting. The accusation of a drive-by fruiting was just to deflect blame.

The Other Waldo Pepper
02-16-2013, 04:26 PM
I don't remember many details of the movie, but did he/she work for free?

He spent some (all?) of his paycheck at that restaurant, getting that meal on the table for his employer despite not actually being able to prepare it.

Roland Orzabal
02-16-2013, 04:53 PM
Non-lawyer talking out my ass here, but even if he did get paid, does fraud have a mens rea requirement in most states? I mean, I can't imagine it'd come up much — the "yeah, I ran a con, but I didn't mean to make any money!" defense would generally be a non-starter — but I'd think it'd be relevant here.

DigitalC
02-16-2013, 04:53 PM
Stalking?

Pitchmeister
02-16-2013, 05:28 PM
Non-lawyer talking out my ass here, but even if he did get paid, does fraud have a mens rea requirement in most states? I mean, I can't imagine it'd come up much ó the "yeah, I ran a con, but I didn't mean to make any money!" defense would generally be a non-starter ó but I'd think it'd be relevant here.

Not a lawyer myself, but I don't think that's what mens rea means. For instance, in the same way I could say: Sure, I wanted to rob that bank, but the teller I shot - that was completely not my intention. Robin Williams certainly went into this situation full-well knowing all the relevant information. The fact that defrauding his ex-wife of some money was not his primary objective doesn't take away his mens rea of committing the fraud.

If I've got my definition straight, lack of mens rea occurs when the defendant does not have all the knowledge to make him realize he is about to commit a certain crime.

Weedy
02-17-2013, 03:57 AM
It doesn't seem like fraud. He did all the work he was hired to do, and she was satisified with his job performance.

Maus Magill
02-17-2013, 08:46 AM
It doesn't seem like fraud. He did all the work he was hired to do, and she was satisified with his job performance.

At the very least, he was employed under the table (a crime), or he filled out his tax forms using a different name (another crime).

fachverwirrt
02-17-2013, 10:11 AM
Custodial interference, certainly. Some sort of tax fraud, probably. I also imagine assuming a false identity to gain access to someone's house who wouldn't otherwise have let you in is some form of trespass.

Joey P
02-17-2013, 10:23 AM
She also hired a nanny/housekeeper without bothering to do a background check, check references, or ask to see ID. She's pretty far from mother-of-the-year material.
Did people do background checks on nannies in the early 90's? Also, IIRC, the last family 'she' worked for was in London(?) and it may have been hard to call them.

He did perform a drive-by fruiting.

Technically, all he performed was a regular fruiting. The accusation of a drive-by fruiting was just to deflect blame.
Technically, what she accused the other person of was a run by fruiting.

At the very least, he was employed under the table (a crime), or he filled out his tax forms using a different name (another crime).
There's no reason why Mrs Doubtfire couldn't have collected the money and then reported it as Daniel Hillard. And she/he wasn't employed for long enough that the case worker could ask to see a W-2.

The only thing I can think of is that there may have been a restraining order involved that he violated. Also, putting the pepper in Stu's food at the restaurant (if caught) may have resulted in him getting some sort of Aggravated Assault charge (or maybe attempted homicide).

Maus Magill
02-17-2013, 02:36 PM
His employer (ex-wife) would have seen a tax form. Unless he was being employed under the table.

Darren Garrison
11-15-2018, 10:30 PM
This is on tonight and I'm watching it for the first time. Had to search to see if anyone has brought up about how really creepy-stalkery the movie comes off today, found this thread.

mlees
11-16-2018, 09:36 AM
His employer (ex-wife) would have seen a tax form. Unless he was being employed under the table.

I haven't seen the movie in a long long time.

Did he work through a maid service? That is, his boss (the maid service company) would see his W2, not the wife. The wife would pay the maid service a fee, and then the maid service would cut Daniel his check made out to Daniel.

Doh! Zombie!

Dewey Finn
11-16-2018, 09:39 AM
I doubt there was a maid service involved. The ex-wife placed the classified ad, "Mrs Doubtfire" responded to it and was hired by the ex-wife. Most likely, she paid him/her directly.

Just Asking Questions
11-16-2018, 09:51 AM
I never filled out any tax forms for my housecleaner when I had one. I paid her direct, and it was her responsibility to pay taxes. She was an independent contractor.

Did I violate any laws?

Dewey Finn
11-16-2018, 09:58 AM
Based on a quick Google search, if you paid your housekeeper more than $2,000 in 2017, you're supposed to have provided a W2 form.

k9bfriender
11-16-2018, 11:20 AM
I doubt there was a maid service involved. The ex-wife placed the classified ad, "Mrs Doubtfire" responded to it and was hired by the ex-wife. Most likely, she paid him/her directly.

It'd be easy enough to create a business entity that she would be paying, of which daniel/doubtfire would be an employee.

I never filled out any tax forms for my housecleaner when I had one. I paid her direct, and it was her responsibility to pay taxes. She was an independent contractor.

Did I violate any laws?

Probably not. So long as you were not actually employing her.

Based on a quick Google search, if you paid your housekeeper more than $2,000 in 2017, you're supposed to have provided a W2 form.

It's more than just the financial part, it is also due to job duties. (https://www.care.com/c/stories/5896/7-tax-questions-from-housekeepers/)

"If the family decides when you come to the home, what areas you clean and you use their supplies, you're most likely their employee."

But if you bring your own mops, bleach and dust cloths, clean according to your own preferences, own your own small business and can send a different housekeeper to a family's home in your place, you're probably an independent contractor, not an employee -- even if you go over that financial threshold.


It's complicated, but pretty much, it is unlikely that the housekeeper is an employee, but it is possible in some circumstances.

Loach
11-16-2018, 12:13 PM
He was certainly guilty of contempt. The judge gave him an order and he disobeyed it. But itís up to that judge to say it was contempt or not.

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