And what about Bob? Well, it’s one of those timeless mainstream comedies that stood the test of time. This is not a surprise since it features Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss in their prime. And the director is none other than Frank Oz of his Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Bowfinger fame. Although released in 1991, it still has that eighties vibe. With a story that anyone can follow, loveable characters, and humor here funny in a different way, it no reinforce stereotypes (Bam!), What about Bob captures your heart. And after the initial viewing, you will come back to this movie periodically for a guaranteed dose of laughter.
What makes this movie work is that familiarity factor. We all faced obnoxious and irritating persons that just won’t leave us alone at some point in our lives. This makes us sympathize with Dreyfuss who is being tormented by hilarious Murray. But also, we have the opportunity to see that situation from another angle. To experience sadness mixed with humor (intelligent humor). Mental health issues were a subject of many comedies in the eighties and this trend continued in the nineties. I really don’t know what to think about this. However, I will tell you one thing, this movie is funny. The dialogue feels natural and at the same time hilarious.
Dr. Leo Marvin is a successful psychiatrist in New York with his private practice. He’s anxiously awaiting the release of his new book. On the other hand, we have Bob. Bob is suffering from multiple phobias, emotional problems, and many more things that just make him awkward and strange. As his previous psychiatrist refers him to unsuspecting Dr. Marvin, Bob is looking forward to this change, hoping that he will cure him. At first, everything seems perfectly good and Bob seems to be making progress. However, that soon changes with disastrous results.
The premise of What About Bob is simply brilliant. It doesn’t come off as pretentious and it has this positive vibe about it. And yes, the plot is a bit predictable but we’re talking about a mainstream comedy here. The pacing is also pretty good and with a runtime of just over ninety minutes, you won’t have time to be bored. Mostly because you’ll be laughing out loud. It’s that type of a movie. It’s also funny to see Dreyfuss again in a coastal town, this time on a vacation and not chasing a fucking shark. Finally, if you’re looking for more similar movies I recommend you check out The Ref, The Man Who Knew Too Little and See No Evil, Hear No Evil. And when it comes to comedies dealing with mental health issues, Toc Toc is a great one.
Director: Frank Oz
Writers: Alvin Sargent, Laura Ziskin, Tom Schulman
Cast: Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss, Julie Hagerty, Charlie Korsmo, Kathryn Erbe, Tom Aldredge
Fun Facts: According to Richard Dreyfuss, he and Bill Murray did not get along during filming.