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What About Bob? is a 1991 American black comedy film directed by Frank Oz and starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss.[3] Murray plays Bob Wiley, an irritating patient who follows his egotistical psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin (Dreyfuss) on vacation. When the unstable Bob befriends the other members of Marvin's family, it pushes the doctor over the edge.

What About Bob?
What About Bob (1991).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byFrank Oz
Produced byLaura Ziskin
Screenplay byTom Schulman
Story byAlvin Sargent
Laura Ziskin
Starring
Music byMiles Goodman
CinematographyMichael Ballhaus
Edited byAnne V. Coates
Production
company
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date
May 17, 1991
Running time
98 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$39 million[1]
Box office$63.7 million[2]

The film received positive reviews and was a box office success. This film is number 43 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".[4]

Contents

PlotEdit

Bob Wiley is a good-natured man with great work ethic, but he suffers from multiple phobias and is divorced because his ex-wife likes Neil Diamond. Despite regular therapy, he makes little progress and his neuroses compel him to seek constant reassurance from his therapists.

Exhausted by Bob's high-maintenance conditions and invasions of personal boundaries, his current therapist refers him to the egotistical Dr. Leo Marvin, who believes his recently published book "Baby Steps" will make him a household name. Bob feels good about their initial session, but Dr. Marvin dismisses Bob in a rush to his long-standing, month-long family vacation. Unable to cope, Bob follows Leo to Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. Leo is annoyed, but sees Bob’s desperation and tells him to "take a vacation" from his problems. Bob seems to have made a breakthrough, but the next morning, he tells Leo that he will also be vacationing at Lake Winnipesaukee as a guest of the Guttmans, who hold a grudge against Leo for purchasing the lakeside home they had been saving for years to buy.

Leo dismisses Bob’s attempts at friendship, but Bob ingratiates himself with Leo's family and relates to the problems of Leo's kids, Anna and Sigmund, in contrast with their father's clinical approach. Bob begins to enjoy life, going sailing with Anna and helping Sigmund dive, which Leo had been unsuccessfully trying for years. After Leo angrily pushes Bob into the lake, Leo's wife Fay invites Bob to dinner and he accepts, believing Leo's slights against him are accidental or part of his therapy. After dinner, a thunderstorm forces Bob to spend the night. Leo wants Bob out of the house early the next morning before Good Morning America arrives to interview him about "Baby Steps". The TV crew, oblivious to Leo's discomfort, suggest having Bob on the show as well. Leo makes a fool out of himself during the interview while Bob is relaxed and speaks glowingly of Leo and the book, unintentionally stealing the spotlight.

Leo throws a tantrum and attempts to have Bob committed, but Bob is soon released after befriending the institution staff and telling them therapy jokes, demonstrating his sanity and that he has made real therapeutic progress due to his time with Dr. Marvin's family. Forced to retrieve Bob, Leo abandons him in the middle of nowhere, but Bob quickly gets a ride back to Leo's house while various mishaps delay Leo. Returning after nightfall, Leo is surprised by the birthday party Fay has secretly planned for him and is delighted to see his beloved sister Lily. When Bob appears and puts his arm around Lily, Leo becomes completely psychotic and attacks him. Bob remains oblivious to Leo's hostility until Fay explains Leo’s grudge against Bob, who agrees to leave. Leo breaks into a general store, stealing a shotgun and 20 pounds of explosives and kidnapping Bob at gunpoint. Leo leads him deep into the woods and ties him up with the explosives, calling it "death therapy", and returns to the house, gleefully preparing his cover story. Believing the explosives are props as a metaphor for his problems, Bob applies Leo's "Baby Steps" approach and manages to free himself of his restraints and remaining fears; he reunites with the Marvins and praises Leo for curing him. The Marvins' vacation home detonates after Bob reveals that he left the explosives inside. Horrified, Leo is rendered catatonic and his medical license is revoked for trying to murder a patient.

Some time later, the still-catatonic Leo is brought to Bob and Lily's wedding. Upon their pronouncement as husband and wife, Leo regains his senses and screams, "No!", but the sentiment is lost in the family's excitement at his recovery. Text at the end reveals that Bob went back to school and became a psychologist, then wrote a best-selling book titled "Death Therapy" and that Leo is suing him for the rights.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

Before Frank Oz was hired to direct, Garry Marshall was considered, and Woody Allen was approached to play Dr. Leo Marvin. Allen was also considered to direct and possibly co-write the script with Tom Schulman.[5] However, because Allen had always generated his own projects rather than getting handed an existing property to make his own, Oz was officially hired to direct.[6] Allen also declined the role, thus Richard Dreyfuss was ultimately cast.[7] Patrick Stewart was also considered for the role.[8] Early in development, Robin Williams was attached to the project.[5]

Oz admitted in interviews that there was tension on the set during the making of the film.[9][10] In addition, both Murray and Dreyfuss have confirmed in separate interviews that they did not get along with each other in real life:

It's entertaining—everybody knows somebody like that Bob guy. (Richard Dreyfuss and I) didn't get along on the movie particularly, but it worked for the movie. I mean, I drove him nuts, and he encouraged me to drive him nuts.[11]

— Bill Murray, March 19, 1993 interview with Entertainment Weekly

How about it? Funny movie. Terribly unpleasant experience. We didn't get along, me and Bill Murray. But I've got to give it to him: I don't like him, but he makes me laugh even now. I'm also jealous that he's a better golfer than I am. It's a funny movie. No one ever comes up to you and says, "I identify with the patient." They always say, "I have patients like that. I identify with your character." No one ever says that they're willing to identify with the other character.[12]

— Richard Dreyfuss, October 8, 2009 interview with The A.V. Club

In subsequent interviews, Dreyfuss reiterated what he said of his experience working with Murray.[13][14][15] He further alleged in 2019 that at one point during the production, Murray screamed at him while intoxicated, telling him “Everyone hates you! You are tolerated!” and then threw an ashtray at him.[16] Murray, on the other hand, later stated when he guest appeared on The Howard Stern Show in 2014, "I really try to make the other actor look good whenever I can...I try to make the other person look good. In this particular film, annoying Dreyfuss, which I kind of got to enjoy I gotta confess—but I didn't try to annoy him off the screen."[17]

Producer Laura Ziskin recalled having a disagreement with Murray which led him to toss her into a lake.[18][19][20][21] Ziskin confirmed in 2003, "Bill also threatened to throw me across the parking lot and then broke my sunglasses and threw them across the parking lot. I was furious and outraged at the time, but having produced a dozen movies, I can safely say it is not common behavior."[18][20][22]

FilmingEdit

What About Bob? was filmed in and around the town of Moneta, Virginia, located on Smith Mountain Lake.[23] Production had to move south because at the real Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, the leaves were already turning for the fall season. While there is a lake in New Hampshire named Winnipesaukee, there is no town by that name (as the film implies). Filming lasted from August 27 to November 21, 1990.

For the scene in which Bob accidentally blows the house up, producers used a 3/4-sized model replica of the actual house that they detonated on a nearby lot.[23]

The scenes of Bob arriving in town on the bus with his goldfish were filmed in downtown Moneta, which was spruced-up and repainted for the movie. The local institute which Leo tries to commit Bob in is actually the local Elks National Home for retirees in the nearby town of Bedford, Virginia.[24]

Scenes were also shot in New York City. According to Oz, Murray "was really frightened about shooting in the city."[9]

Murray confirmed that he improvised a lot in the film.[25]

ReceptionEdit

What About Bob? was a financial success. Made on a $39 million budget,[1] it grossed $64 million domestically during its original theatrical run.[2]

Critical responseEdit

Critical reaction was also favorable. Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 84% based on reviews from 43 critics with an average rating of 6.48/10. The site's consensus reads: "Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss' chemistry helps make the most of a familiar yet durable premise, elevating What About Bob? into the upper ranks of '90s comedies."[26]

When the television program Siskel and Ebert reviewed the film, Roger Ebert gave the film a "thumbs up" rating praising the different performances of Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss onscreen together as well as most of the film's humor. He said it was Bill Murray's best movie since Ghostbusters in 1984. Gene Siskel gave it a "thumbs down" rating and felt Murray gave a very funny and enjoyable performance in the film, but was rather upset by the Dreyfuss character and his angry and arrogant behaviors. He felt it would have been funnier if Dreyfuss had not given such an angry performance in the film and said that Dreyfuss ultimately ruined the film for him.[27]

Leonard Maltin also gave the film a favorable review: in Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide he gives the film three stars out of a possible four, saying it's "a very funny outing with Murray and Dreyfuss approaching the relationship of the road runner and the coyote." Maltin faulted the film only for its ending, which he found very abrupt and silly.[28]

Lou Cedrone from The Baltimore Sun criticized the film: "It is too predictable and deals with a situation that is more irritating than amusing."[29]

LawsuitEdit

In April 2015, it was reported that Richard Dreyfuss sued The Walt Disney Company over the film's profits. Dreyfuss has claimed that Disney refused to hire his chosen auditor, Robinson and Co. Christine Turner Wagner, widow of Turner & Hooch (1989) producer Raymond Wagner, is also involved with the lawsuit.[30][31][32][33][34][35]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Andreeva, Nellie (January 25, 2017). "'What About Bob?' Female Reboot Gets Comedy Pilot Order At NBC". Deadline. Retrieved May 22, 2019. was a critical and boxoffice success
  2. ^ a b "What About Bob? (1991)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved February 21, 2012.
  3. ^ Rosenbaum, Jonathan. "What About Bob?". Chicago Reader. Retrieved July 8, 2015.
  4. ^ "Bravo's 100 Funniest Movies of All Time". Boston.com. Retrieved November 16, 2012.
  5. ^ a b Leonard Klady (June 25, 1989). "Two for the Road". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on August 11, 2011.
  6. ^ Evans, Bradford (May 19, 2011). "The Lost Roles of Woody Allen". Splitsider. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  7. ^ "Review: 'What About Bob?'". Variety. December 31, 1990. Retrieved April 24, 2015.
  8. ^ "What About Bob?". Tcm.com. Retrieved April 6, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Capone With Frank Oz About DEATH AT A FUNERAL, What Went Wrong On STEPFORD, And (Of Course) Yoda!!". Ain't It Cool News. August 7, 2007. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  10. ^ Plume, Kenneth (February 10, 2000). "INTERVIEW WITH FRANK OZ". IGN. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  11. ^ Meyers, Kate (March 19, 1993). "A Bill Murray filmography". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  12. ^ Rabin, Nathan (October 8, 2009). "Richard Dreyfuss". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
  13. ^ Sharon Kennedy Wynne (July 11, 2018). "Jawing with Richard Dreyfuss about his movies, feuds and why he's coming to SharkCon in Tampa". Tampa Bay Times. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
  14. ^ Barber, Richard (4 August 2017). "Richard Dreyfuss: 'Bill Murray is a pig..but although I loathe him, he makes me laugh'". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 3 July 2019. Retrieved 3 July 2019.
  15. ^ Furdyk, Brent (June 26, 2019). "Richard Dreyfuss Recalls 'What About Bob?' Co-Star Bill Murray As A 'Irish Drunken Bully' Who Threw An Ashtray At His Head". Entertainment Tonight Canada. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
  16. ^ Polowy, Kevin (June 26, 2019). "Role Recall: Richard Dreyfuss on doubting 'Jaws,' coping with an abusive Bill Murray on 'What About Bob?' and more". Yahoo!. Retrieved June 27, 2019.
  17. ^ Stern, Howard (host); Quivers, Robin (co-host); Murray, Bill (guest) (October 8, 2014). "Bill Murray". The Howard Stern Show. Howard 100.
  18. ^ a b Horn, John; Goldstein, Patrick (October 3, 2003). "Film sets loose, but barbarian behavior rare, insiders say". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  19. ^ Labrecque, Jeff (August 27, 2013). "Bill Murray: Curious case of Hollywood's white whale". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  20. ^ a b Brownfield, Paul (February 29, 2004). "What about Bill? (Page 2 of 4)". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on October 27, 2012. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  21. ^ Horn, John; Goldstein, Patrick (October 5, 2003). "Even on loose sets, barbarian behavior rare". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  22. ^ Horn, John; Goldstein, Patrick (October 5, 2003). "Even on loose sets, barbarian behavior rare (Page 2 of 2)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 4, 2017.
  23. ^ a b "Then & Now: The Lake House from 'What About Bob?'". Hookedonhouses.net. January 30, 2011. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  24. ^ Causey, Anne Patterson; Blackwell, Mary Alice (2005). Virginia's Blue Ridge. Globe Pequot. ISBN 9780762734603.
  25. ^ Koltnow, Barry (May 21, 1991). "MURRAY BECAME THE ANNOYING MAN". Deseret News. Retrieved January 17, 2017.
  26. ^ "What About Bob?". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved March 25, 2013.
  27. ^ Gene, Siskel; Ebert, Roger (June 1, 1991). "Soapdish/What About Bob?/Hudson Hawk/Only the Lonely". At the Movies. Season 5. Episode 38.
  28. ^ Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide ISBN 0-451-21265-7
  29. ^ Cedrone, Lou (May 17, 1991). "'What About Bob?' It's awful, that's what". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  30. ^ Johnson, Ted (April 9, 2015). "Richard Dreyfuss Sues Disney Over 'What About Bob?' Profits". Variety. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  31. ^ Gardner, Eriq (April 9, 2015). "Richard Dreyfuss Sues Disney Over 'What About Bob?'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  32. ^ Patten, Dominic (April 9, 2015). "Disney Slammed By Richard Dreyfuss Over 'What About Bob?' Profits". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  33. ^ McCown, Alex (April 10, 2015). "Richard Dreyfuss is suing Disney over the profits for What About Bob?". The A.V. Club. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  34. ^ Shoard, Catherine (April 10, 2015). "Richard Dreyfuss Sues Disney over What About Bob? 24 years after Release". The Guardian. London. Retrieved April 20, 2015.
  35. ^ "Richard Dreyfuss sues Disney over What About Bob?". BBC News. April 10, 2015. Retrieved July 18, 2015.

External linksEdit