What About Bob? is comedy which came out in 1991 directed by Frank Oz, and starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. Murray plays Bob Wiley, a multiphobic psychiatric patient who follows his successful and (beyond) egotistical psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin (played by Dreyfuss) on vacation. When the unstable Bob befriends the other members of Marvin’s family, it pushes the doctor over the edge.
I loved this film when it came out and I still love it. I am not sure what comedy critics or people who know the ins and outs of comedy writing better than I do would/will say, but I think this film is just about perfect and here is why.
The situation is funny! Dr. Marvin wants nothing but a weekend alone with his family and a promo opp with Good Morning America to go well and Bob wants nothing but to be with Dr. Marvin because he thinks he “needs” him. Both characters have very clear and conflicting wants in this film and the actors are so committed to the part that we believe it and it’s funny.
This film doesn’t rely on joke, joke, joke, but instead takes two people and shoves them together in a situation that is tragic and yet very funny. It’s funny that Dr. Marvin’s kids relate better to crazy Bob, it’s funny that Dr. Marvin’s wife likes him so much, it’s funny that everyone likes Bob and wants him around except Dr. Marvin who is completely put out by the situation at hand.
This is another example of a film that could have just as easily been a drama about a crazy patient who just won’t take no for an answer, but instead it’s funny. We, the audience love and cheer on Bob and we also cheer on Dr. Marvin. Two opposing sides and we like both of them.
It’s really a great film and if you haven’t seen it in a while, or never seen it, put it on your Netflix cue and watch it, you’ll like it.