What About Bob?

infobox film
name = What About Bob?

caption = Theatrical Release Poster
director = Frank Oz
producer = Laura Ziskin and
Bernard Williams
writer = Alvin Sargent and
Laura Ziskin (Story)
Tom Schulman (Screenplay)
starring = Bill Murray
Richard Dreyfuss
music = Miles Goodman
cinematography = Michael Ballhaus
editing = Anne V. Coates
distributor = Touchstone Pictures
released = May 17, 1991
runtime = 99 min.
country = USA
awards =
language = English
preceded_by =
followed_by =
amg_id = 1:53994
imdb_id = 0103241

"What About Bob?" is a 1991 comedy movie directed by Frank Oz which stars Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. Bill Murray plays Bob Wiley, a very kind but multiphobic psychiatric patient who follows his successful and beyond egotistical psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin (played by Richard Dreyfuss) on vacation. When the unstable Bob befriends the other members of the Marvin clan, it slowly drives Leo insane. Other characters include Fay Marvin, played by Julie Hagerty, Anna Marvin, played by Kathryn Erbe, Sigmund "Siggy" Marvin, played by Charlie Korsmo and Mr. and Mrs. Guttman, played by Tom Aldredge and Susan Willis.

Upon seeing his performance at the world premiere, Steven Spielberg spent $250,000 on a campaign to not only get Bill Murray nominated for the Best Leading Actor Academy Award but actually win it. Murray didn't receive a nomination and he on several occasions has attempted to pay Spielberg back, but Spielberg refused.Fact|date=October 2007

Bill Murray improvised so many lines during the movie that accurate scripts couldn't be written until after shooting the scenes.

This film is number 43 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".

Plot summary

When Dr. Leo Marvin, (Richard Dreyfuss) a trained psychiatrist, leaves his work to go on vacation in New Hampshire, he leaves his newly published book, "Baby Steps," with his new patient, Bob Wiley (Bill Murray). Bob is a very nice man, but he's nearly paralyzed by multiple phobias, and his previous psychiatrist, Dr. Carswell Fendsterwald, looking close to a nervous breakdown, is quitting his practice for a while and leaving town to get away from Bob. This and the fact that a number of psychiatrists have dropped Bob foreshadow future events, though not in the way one would expect.

Bob, terrified that he can’t make it without his doctor, contacts him twice by phone. Leo, however, makes it quite clear that he has no desire to work on his vacation. Desperate, Bob fakes his own death and poses as a Homicide detective in order to find out where Leo's vacation home is. Bob then takes a bus to New Hampshire, where arriving at a gas station, where he begins frantically calling Leo's name. Leo is visibly upset, but grudgingly agrees to call Bob at a local coffee shop. In return, Bob promises to return to New York via bus as soon as their session is over.

Bob waits diligently until just after 3:00. At this point, a chance comment alerts the Guttmans, the proprietors of the coffee shop, that Dr. Marvin is going to call him. The Guttmans have nursed an vicious grudge against Dr. Marvin who purchased the vacation home which they had been saving to buy. Sensing a chance to make Leo miserable, the Guttmans offer to drive Bob directly there. Now desperate to get rid of Bob, Leo also helps him by writing a prescription saying, "Take a vacation from your problems." Bob seems to have made a breakthrough, but arrives the next morning and explains to Leo that he has decided to remain in New Hampshire on vacation. He also tells Leo that he's staying with the Guttmans, who have suggested that he visit the Marvins as a friend, not a patient.

Leo's family is increasingly charmed to have Bob with them. However, Bob's presence causes a number of events that shatter Leo's characteristic calm demeanor and transform him into a walking time bomb. First of all, Bob befriends Leo's kids, Anna and Sigmund. Anna is a typical teenage girl, distraught over having to deal with a father that communicates with her through hand puppets and other psychological aides. She sees Bob as a kindred spirit and helps him to conquer his fear of sailing. When an enraged Leo objects to her spending time with his patient, she accuses her father of being insensitive, of never listening, and of not being any fun. To Leo's horror, she says that Bob is just the opposite.

Sigmund, however, believes that he has lost his childhood and has an obsessive fixation with the inevitability of death. Bob becomes a father figure to him and helps Sigmund gain enough confidence to dive into the water (a feat Leo was unable to accomplish). He also persuades Sigmund that Tourettes syndrome is much a better focus for his fear.

To Leo's further horror, his wife Fay (Julie Haggerty) invites Bob over for dinner. When a thunderstorm prevents him from going home, Leo is forced to let him spend the night.

Throughout the film, Leo has had an almost unhealthy fixation on an upcoming interview with Good Morning America. Afraid that Bob will ruin the moment for him, he tries frantically to make him leave before the TV crews arrive. However, the interviewer thinks that it will be a great idea for a patient to be on the air. Stressed out and humiliated, Leo is unable to speak clearly and makes a fool of himself. Bob, however, completely steals the show and everyone's hearts. After Good Morning America leaves, an outraged Leo throws a massive tantrum and, after appearing to have calmed down, takes Bob to a mental institution.

Later, Leo returns home, ecstatic that he has outsmarted Bob. As soon as he arrives, however, he receives a phone call from the institution. Screaming profanity, Leo returns to find that Bob has been telling psychiatric-themed jokes to the doctors, nurses and other staff, who are all certain that he is perfectly sane. Despite Leo's attempts to persuade the head doctor that Bob is "a textbook Sociopath," she states that she's going to save Leo from being embarrassed by releasing Bob immediately. Leo grudgingly drives Bob away, but throws an even bigger tantrum when Bob suggests that they meet for therapy sessions. Leo stops the car, and leaves Bob in the middle of the road.

Rushing away from Bob, Leo is pulled over for speeding, gets a flat tire and is covered with mud by the wake of a passing car. Meanwhile, Bob thumbs a ride back to the house. It is nightfall before an almost homicidal Leo returns home.

Upon walking out onto the veranda, Leo is surprised by the birthday party which Fay has been secretly planning for him. The sight of his friends, colleagues, and especially his beloved sister Lily seem to put him in much better spirits. All of a sudden, Bob appears and puts his arm around Lily. This is the final straw; Leo becomes completely psychotic. He leaps from the stairway and physically attacks Bob, who is uninjured and remains clueless as to why Leo has become so hostile towards him. Fay guiltily informs Bob that he is the reason for Leo's outburst and Bob sadly agrees to leave once and for all.

Meanwhile, Leo sneaks out of the house and breaks into an sporting goods store, stealing a shotgun and 20 pounds of black powder. He then kidnaps Bob gunpoint, ties him to a log, and straps all 20 pounds of explosives to him, maniacally labeling the bombs as "Death therapy, Bob. Guaranteed cure."

Leo, overjoyed to be free at last, returns to his house and dances around the yard. Bob, however, is convinced that the "phony bombs" represent a psychological metaphor; he feels he must untie his internal knots to prevent himself from exploding. After escaping, he returns to Leo and the family at the vacation home's dock, holding Leo's birthday cake. Leo, devastated to see Bob again, demands to know where the bags full of explosives are. At that moment, Leo's extravagant house is blown to pieces as the therapist's cherished bust of Sigmund Freud lands at his feet.

In the aftermath, Leo, has become completely catatonic and is temporarily institutionalized after having his license permanently revoked. Later, at his sister's wedding, Leo recovers his senses just as Lily and Bob are pronounced husband and wife, screaming a desperate, "NO!" His words are lost in his family's joy at having him back. A title card appears in the end that says:

"Bob went back to school and became a psychologist.

He then wrote a huge best seller, Death Therapy.

Leo is suing him for the rights."

Production notes

* The movie was filmed in and around the town of Moneta, Virginia located on Smith Mountain Lake. Production had to go south because at the real Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, the leaves were already turning for the fall season.

* The house used in the filming still stands. The exploding house was a prop house built for the explosion on a nearby lake front lot; the local inhabitants gathered to watch the explosion from land and boats.

* 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 Home for retirees in the nearby town of Bedford, Virginia.

* Throughout the film, Leo shows an obsession with Sigmund Freud. He is frequently shown with a bust of the man, and his son is named Sigmund, and his daughter Anna (the name of Freud's daughter)

External links

*imdb title|id=0103241|title=What About Bob?
*rottentomatoes|id=what_about_bob|title=What About Bob?

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