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…

Notes:

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

Budget
$39 million (est.)

Gross worldwide
$63.7 million

Runtime:  1 hour 39 minutes

Quotes:

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..…

Trailer:

AI Photos:

By Michael

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