Saturday, 13 September 2008

No.70 : What About Bob?

IMDb Link :

Richard Dreyfuss plays Dr Leo Marvin a successful psychologist who is about to depart for his month long holiday. He’s feeling good as his book ‘Baby Steps’ is doing well and a crew from ‘Good Morning America’ is going to interview him for their show. As he’s about to leave a colleague calls and asks if he’ll take a patient for him as he’s about to retire, somewhat prematurely. Leo agrees and is surprised to find that the client has already scheduled an appointment in the next 5 minutes.

The client, Bob, played by Bill Murray, is a nightmare with every phobia and fixation in the book vying for his manic attention. Leo uses his tried and tested methods and quickly ejects Bob with a copy of his book and a few tips. Clearly he hasn’t read Bob’s notes, or indeed the script, as the rest of the film is basically Bob annoying the good doctor.

Leo gets away with his family but Bob, displaying some out of character smarts and bravery, tracks him down and begins to weasel his way into the family. We soon learn that Dr Leo’s life isn’t as ordered as he’d like to think and he has issues with his wife, children and neighbours. Of course Bob’s innocent charm wins them over and they are at a loss to see why Leo hates his guts. After Bob salvages the interview when Leo chokes the doctor cracks and has Bob committed, only to have him sent home in time for dinner.

With the family loving Bob and his reputation in tatters Leo begins to get a bit mental himself and plots to kill Bob. As the dramatic climax approaches and the bomb countdown started can it all come together in a happy ending for all or maybe just some of the cast?

I didn’t really like this film much and I think it was because I was meant to like Bob and dislike Leo but failed to do either. Bob’s character is meant to be obsessive and annoying but he just grates and you want to punch him in the throat after 5 minutes. Leo on the other hand is meant to be uptight and stuffy but I thought he showed remarkable restraint when dealing with this total prick who was spoiling his holiday.

There were a couple of funny scenes, mostly involving Bob coming through again with his innocent charm as another of Leo’s schemes went awry, but they were few and far between. The less good bits involved Bob winning over the family, with him successfully teaching the son to dive where dad had failed. Thanks a lot, you show off twat!

Towards the end the film got a whole lot darker and although Bob’s mask was never shown to slip I’m sure the implication was that he was an evil cuckoo trying to steal the nest. The finale was unbelievable on all counts and finished with my least favourite ending - the ‘funny’ captions telling you how things panned out in the future. For us to care about their futures we need to be somewhat invested in their present situation and I wasn’t. Poor old Dreyfuss deserved better, as did the viewer who got an uneven and largely unfunny prescription doled out.

Best Bit : Bob gets uncommitted

‘W’ Score 12/23

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