Sun. Jul 14th, 2024

What About Bob? (1991) – Take a “vacation” from your problems. Baby steps to the elevator… baby steps to the car…

By Michael Jun 28, 2024

A successful psychotherapist loses his mind after one of his most dependent patients, an obsessive-compulsive neurotic, tracks him down during his family vacation.

Review by Ben Dover:

What About Bob? (1991) – 4 Neurotic Goldfish

Well, slap me silly and call me a psychiatrist! Here’s a comedy that actually deserves the label, unlike the brain-dead drivel they’re pumping out these days. “What About Bob?” is a delightfully twisted romp that’ll have you cackling like a loon – assuming you’re not too busy relating to the characters’ mental breakdowns.

Bill Murray, that magnificent bastard, plays Bob Wiley, a neurotic mess with more phobias than a hypochondriac’s medical dictionary. He latches onto his new shrink, Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss), like a deranged barnacle, following the good doctor on his family vacation. Dreyfuss, bless his over-caffeinated heart, slowly unravels as Bob charms his way into the family’s affections.

Murray is at his manic best here, turning Bob into a lovable pest you can’t help but root for, even as he drives his psychiatrist to the brink of insanity. Whether he’s tied to the mast of a sailboat screaming “I’m sailing!” or gleefully proclaiming “I’m doing the work, I’m baby-stepping!”, Bob’s infectious enthusiasm is more potent than Prozac.

Dreyfuss, meanwhile, deserves a Purple Heart for his performance. Watching his tightly-wound doctor spiral into madness is like seeing a pressure cooker explode in slow motion – messy, but oddly satisfying. The man goes from smug professional to wild-eyed lunatic faster than you can say “multi-phasic personality inventory.”

Director Frank Oz (yeah, the Muppet guy) keeps the laughs coming at a steady clip, mining comedy gold from the escalating chaos. It’s a testament to his skill that a movie about mental illness manages to be hilarious without feeling mean-spirited. No small feat in today’s overly sensitive climate where you can’t sneeze without offending someone’s delicate sensibilities.

Sure, the plot stretches credulity thinner than my remaining hair, but who cares? It’s a comedy, not a documentary on psychiatric ethics. Besides, after seeing the state of the world these days, Bob’s neuroses seem downright quaint.

So, if you’re tired of cookie-cutter comedies that couldn’t entertain a lobotomized chicken, give “What About Bob?” a watch. It’s a refreshing reminder of when movies dared to be genuinely funny and just a little bit nuts. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go take my “vacation” from my problems. Baby steps to the elevator… baby steps to the car…


In interviews both Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss admitted that they did not get along during filming

$39 million (est.)

Gross worldwide
$63.7 million

Runtime:  1 hour 39 minutes


Siggy: I mean, my Dad just dropped me in the water, without warning me first. I mean, I nearly drowned! My whole life flashed before my eyes!
Bob Wiley: Wow, you’re lucky you’re only twelve.
Siggy: It was still grim.

Critics Consensus:

Critics 82% Audience 79% Rotten Tomatoes

Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss’ chemistry helps make the most of a familiar yet durable premise, elevating What About Bob? into the upper ranks of ’90s comedies..…


AI Photos:

By Michael

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