DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Frank Oz
Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss, Julie Hagerty, Charlie Korsmo, Kathryn Erbe, Tom Aldredge, Susan Willis, Roger Bowen
Writing Credits:
Alvin Sargent (story), Laura Ziskin (story), Tom Schulman

Bob's a special kind of friend. The kind that drives you crazy!

Comic wizard Bill Murray teams up with Academy Award winner Richard Dreyfuss in an outrageously wild comedy that's sure to drive you off the deep end! Murray plays Bob Wiley, a troubled but lovable therapy patient who fears everything! After seeking help from noted psychiatrist Dr. Leo Marvin (Dreyfuss), Bob feels revived. But when the good doctor skips town to go on a family vacation, Bob, afraid of being alone, follows - showing up unexpectedly at the therapist's lakeside retreat. That's when the fun really begins! Bob innocently becomes the houseguest who just won't leave ... endearing himself to the other family members ... and, in the end, driving the stressed-out shrink absolutely crazy!

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$9.216 million on 1463 screens.
Domestic Gross
$63.710 million.

Rated PG

Widescreen 1.85:1
English Dolby Surround 2.0
French Dolby Surround 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 99 min.
Price: $9.99
Release Date: 7/11/2000

• Trailer


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]

What About Bob? (1991)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 7, 2007)

1991ís What About Bob? exploits the comedic potential found in the world of analysis and psychological difficulties. Cocky and self-involved Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) sits on top of the psychiatric world. With the publication of his self-help book Baby Steps, heís becoming more and more famous and successful.

Into this life, a problem occurs when he meets a multi-phobic patient named Bob Wiley (Bill Murray). The ultra-needy Bob actually drove his prior therapist out of the profession, so an unsuspecting Leo takes up the slack. After one session, Leo sends Bob on his way with a copy of Baby Steps and the bad news that Leo will be unavailable for a month. Bob takes the ďbaby stepsĒ philosophy to heart, but it doesnít last, and he soon becomes a mess again.

In the meantime, Leo and his family Ė wife Fay (Julie Hagerty), son Sigmund (Charlie Korsmo) and daughter Anna (Kathryn Erbe) Ė have gone to a rustic lake for their vacation. While they adjust, Bob finds a way to reach Leo and pleads for help. Leo tells him to respect the need for his time away, but the needy Bob canít do so, and he eventually uses tricky methods to track Leoís location.

After he struggles to get on a bus, Bob arrives at the vacation spot and quickly connects with Leo. The doctor agrees to chat with Bob one time and on his own terms. While Bob waits, we find out that the locals donít exactly adore Dr. Marvin, and he experiences conflicts within his family as well. It seems the physician canít quite heal his own brood, and they resent his career-first lifestyle. Friction manifests heavily between Leo and Sigmund, upon whom the doctor puts a lot of pressure.

Eventually Bob decides to stay around to take his own vacation. He infiltrates himself into the lives of Leoís family, much to the dismay of the doctor. The movie follows the comedic friction and all the issues that result.

One canít call What About Bob? a terribly innovative little comedy, but it achieves its goals well. Much of the thanks goes to the terrific lead performance from Bill Murray. He does great work as the neurotic but lovable Bob. For obvious reasons, Murray plays Bob in a very broad way; donít expect even a semblance of reality from this portrayal. Instead, Murray comes off in full SNL mode, as he imbues the nutty Bob with a terrific level of energy and nuance.

Dreyfuss also doesnít encounter a challenge via Leo, but he provides a solid performance as well. Dreyfuss mastered this sort of smarmy and self-absorbed character way back with flicks like Jaws and The Goodbye Girl. He takes Leo to comic excess, of course, and provides a solid counterpoint to Murrayís Bob.

Without that contrast and chemistry, Bob wouldnít have worked, but indeed, the interaction of the leads makes it a lot of fun. Bob gets better as Leo degenerates, all with amusing results. Director Frank Oz manages a nice balance of absurdity with reality. He keeps things from becoming too over the top, but he also exploits the comedic potential of the piece.

What About Bob? doesnít stand as the best work of any folks involved. (Iíd stick with 1990ís Quick Change - sadly absent from DVD at this time Ė as the top Murray flick.) Nonetheless, Bob presents a consistently entertaining and funny piece. It works well from start to finish and functions as a very solid comedy.

The DVD Grades: Picture C-/ Audio C+/ Bonus D-

What About Bob? appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, single-layered DVD; the image has not been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Part of a bargain line, Bob presented a watchable but consistently mediocre transfer.

Sharpness mostly seemed adequate. Some shots looked a bit soft, but they werenít too prominent. For the most part, the movie remained fairly accurate and decently defined. Occasional examples of jagged edges and shimmering occurred, and I also noticed mild edge enhancement during much of the flick. Print flaws didnít seem massive, but they caused a mix of distractions. I saw various examples of specks, grit, grain, marks and debris throughout the movie. Again, these never seemed major, but they appeared more frequently than Iíd expect.

Colors looked acceptable but no better than that. The movie stayed with a natural palette and displayed reasonably concise tones. The hues probably worked as one of the better parts of the transfer, as they seemed fairly accurate and distinctive, though they failed to achieve any form of real vivacity. Black levels were fairly dense and deep, but shadow detail was overly thick. Low-light shots like those at Bobís apartment or at Leoís answering service looked pretty opaque and tough to discern. Ultimately, What About Bob? wasnít a bad transfer, but it seemed very mediocre.

Donít expect anything special from the Dolby Surround 2.0 soundtrack of What About Bob? but it does achieve its goals. The soundfield seemed pretty restricted, which is typical for this sort of film. The soundfield maintained a heavy emphasis on the front channels. Music displayed good stereo imaging, and some light effects usage popped up from the side speakers. These tended toward environmental elements, though occasionally we got a little bit more such as vehicles panning from one channel to another. Nothing much occurred, but it added some light atmospheric content.

The surrounds acted the same way, as they offered gentle reinforcement of the forward but not more than that. Actually, they played a virtual non-factor in the flick. Even usual suspects like a sequence with a thunderstorm didnít feature notable use of the rear speakers.

Audio quality seemed solid. Speech was consistently firm and crisp, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects remained a minor role in the proceedings, but they were acceptably accurate and distinctive. They portrayed appropriate life and definition. The score sounded fairly rich and warm, with clean highs and moderately deep lows. Overall, the audio seemed perfectly adequate for this flick.

Bob comes with only one extra: the filmís theatrical trailer. Given the talent involved, that seems like a particular disappointment, as a commentary from director Frank Oz would come as a nice bonus.

A memorable and likable little comedy, What About Bob? holds up well after more than a decade. It enjoys solid lead performances that help make it a real winner. Unfortunately, the DVD seems much less strong. It presents mediocre picture and audio with virtually no extras. Given its very low list price, Iíd still recommend the DVD, but I remain disappointed with the lackluster quality of the release.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.6818 Stars Number of Votes: 22
1 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main