What About Bob? Review
Richard Dreyfuss is successful psychiatrist Leo Marvin, who is referred a patient of which Leo decides to take on. That patient happens to be Bob Wiley (Bill Murray), a man who thinks that his every move could be his last, and without constant psychiatric assistance he feels his bladder may explode. Meeting Bob for the first time, Leo tells him that he can start treating him after his holiday. In an attempt to help Bob in the mean time, Leo gives him a copy of his book ‘Baby Steps’, tells him that he will see him in four weeks and sends him on his way. Unbeknown to Leo, it isn’t going to be four weeks when he next sees his patient.
What About Bob? is one of those films that you can put on during a rainy day to cheer you up. It doesn’t ask a lot of you, in terms of thought, but it does brighten up whatever mood you’re in. It works because of its light and fluffy take on these particular people’s lives, glossing over the inadequacies of their existence. The film finds its comedy in the relationship between the two leads, and shows what a fine line there is between doctor and patient.
Director Frank Oz has always be able to bring ‘characters’ to the screen. From the Muppet’s to Bowfinger, Oz has consistently brought these entities from the script page and given them a life and vitality on screen, even if his overall output has never reached any real heights. He also has a knack for character interaction and creating wonderful dynamics between leads and supporting roles. In What About Bob?, it is the dynamic between Leo and Bob that carries the film. Much like his best film Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, it is the two leads that create the comedy through their relationship. What little plot there is (Leo is gearing up to have a television interview concerning his new book, and certainly doesn’t want Bob around to ruin it), is compensated for by the lead pair’s on-screen banter, their physical comedy and the comedic chemistry they both show in abundance.
The performances are excellent from Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. Murray lumbers about like a big kid, with his goldfish tied around his neck as if his parents had just dropped him off at summer camp and he couldn’t bear to leave it at home. He gets the sympathy vote with his dumb baby smile and his unsure insecurity. Dreyfuss is equally good, and gives a sharp contrast to his counterpart, as he is superbly dry and witty throughout. His pithy one-liners are delivered with comic assurance, and his manic physical comedy adds to the fun nature of the film.
What About Bob? is a definitive feel-good film that is consistently funny thanks largely to solid, workman-like direction from Frank Oz, and excellent performances by the two leads.
The film is presented in non-anamorphic 1.85:1. The fact that there is no anamorphic enhancement is a major ‘put-off’, however, the picture is actually quite good. While the lack of widescreen enhancement leaves the colours a little soft, and the overall image a little too sharp, the transfer is still better than many anamorphic images I have seen. There is a distinct lack of any artefacts and the print is in superb condition.
The sound is presented as Dolby Digital 2.0. Again, while this isn’t the best DVD can offer, it isn’t bad in the slightest. The sound is very clear, and sound effects, ambient sounds and music spread nicely around the speakers. However, dialogue driven scenes are very mono in nature, and there is a distinct lack of true separation.
Theatrical Trailer - A good trailer that is presented in full frame 4:3.
A delightful comedy is presented on a technically adequate disc, but it lacks any extras apart from a theatrical trailer.