||What About Bob?
1991 - PG - 99 Mins.
|Director: Frank Oz|
|Producer: Laura Ziskin|
|Written By: Alvin Sargent, Laura Ziskin, Tom Schulman|
|Starring: Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss, Julie Hagerty, Charlie Korsmo, Susan Willis |
|Review by: John Ulmer
Bill Murray plays Bob: a claustrophobic, paranoid, delusional, compulsive, schizophrenic freak. Richard Dreyfuss plays Leo Marvin: a great psychologist famous for his baby steps theory.
It's Leo Marvin, not Lee Marvin, ok?
Bob visits Marvin, who informs Bob he is going on a family vacation and will schedule an appointment when he arrives back. Bob, being the impulsive man he is, hunts down Marvin via various techniques, all the way out to Leo's family vacation spot in a sweet old town in the middle-of-nowhere. Soon, Marvin realizes that Bob is not going to let him go--so Marvin snaps, and goes crazy. He can't stand Bob. Bob is unintentionally gaining the favor of his children and wife, and he also spends the night at Marvin's house. Marvin loses it. Bob doesn't stand a chance. Or does he?
This film comes off more as a horror than anything. In fact, it would have good potential as one. But instead we are treated to an equally-compelling comedy that loses steam and credibility at the end. Fortunately, the first three-quarters of the movie makes up for the last quarter.
Bill Murray is the perfect choice for Bob: a sweet, good-natured man with a kind heart. He doesn't intentionally cause mayhem in Marvin's life; he just does.
Richard Dreyfuss surprises as Leo Marvin. Who would have thought that the man could be so funny?
And Frank Oz, director of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels," "Bowfinger" and I believe voices characters in "Sesame Street," directs this film just right. There's a side of lunacy, paranoia, cartoon, but most of all family in the way he presents everything and everyone.
I particularly like one scene where Marvin's child (that kid from "Hook") is going to bed; Bob is sleeping in the room with him, and they have an intimate conversation regarding death. Bob gives the kid high hopes for a future without really trying to per say. Not only is the scene ironic, but it's a bit touching.
Unfortunately, the last twenty minutes or so rapidly excels towards over-the-top craziness. It's a bit like the ending of "Clifford" with Martin Short and Charles Grodin: they both would be more fondly remembered without the bad endings.
Overall a fun film, that would have been about ten times better without the ending it contains. It still has a great re-watch factor, however, and scenes like the dinner at Marvin's house plenty make up for the bad outcomes. On the plus-side, comedies like these really aren't made anymore.