Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Review: What About Bob? (1991)

Director: Frank Oz
Starring: Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss

Psychology is a dangerous business, as Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) learns after taking on a new patient named Bob (Bill Murray). Bob has a lot of problems, from his fear of germs to his need for attachment, and although Dr. Marvin is going on vacation, it doesn't stop Bob from calling, pretending he's dead and even coming to visit to try and get himself some help. Surprisingly, though, Bob becomes a lot friendlier and more adept once he spends time with Marvin and his family - to the point where the family likes him almost as much as they like Marvin himself, sending the good doctor into a steep spiral into madness.

This movie is just hilarious. Bill Murray gives a great performance, always funny and charming as hell, even when he's really annoying. Watching him quarrel with the doctor Leo Marvin is side-splitting good, and by far the best parts of the movie are when the doctor is desperately trying to get him to go away, but he just keeps popping up again and again. He tells Bob to leave before the TV crews get there for his spot on Good Morning America? Bob becomes a television star. He commits Bob to a mental hospital? Bob makes friends with the staff and becomes even more well liked. He leaves Bob on the side of the road? Bob hooks up with his sister. It's almost like watching a Roadrunner cartoon, or something - it's the same kind of boisterous, innocent comedy that will never get old. As the movie progresses, Leo begins to get crazier and crazier, never able to foil Bob's "plans" no matter how hard he tries, until he finally gets crazy enough to try and blow him up.

Really, the strength of the movie is just that rambunctious innocence that it has. There's nothing really dirty or scandalous about it at all; it's just good, clean fun. The movie skips along like a rock on the water, compulsively watchable and funny to boot. It's short enough to not get boring and the movie never runs out of ideas. Although I do have to say the ending felt a little rushed. I just know they could have done a lot more with this. The doctor's spiral into madness is kind of rushed, like they were afraid of going too far or something. Bah, I say, go ahead and go as far as you like! That's the beauty of it. What about Bob? Well, Bob is the star of this great movie. Now where the hell is my sequel? This deserves one.