What About Bob

5b1d9c22c932a39e5ba226ef24166eadBob (Bill Murray), a needy neurotic and narcissist, is thrown for a loop when his therapist (Richard Dreyfuss) goes on vacation. Unable and unwilling to take no for an answer, Bob tracks Dr. Leo to his lakeside cottage and imposes himself the family.

Sean and I are off to the cottage this weekend and we intend to have a lot more relaxation and a lot less surprise guests. Of course, if a client of mine did show up unexpectedly, it wouldn’t go quite like it does in the movie. Bob is not charismatic, he’s obnoxious and self-centered. And sure Dr. Leo’s a dick, but Bob could be dangerous and has already proven himself to be a liar and a stalker. Not only is it inappropriate for Bob to show up, it’s also strictly against the rules. I would be calling the cops. Sean would not be bonding with him under any circumstance. This movie really riles me up in between bouts of cracking me up.

While I find this movie professionally disturbing, I also find it hilarious, because: Bill Murray. I love Bill Murray. He’s kind of an ass, and impenetrable, and yet somehow I adore him. He has weird methods on-set, rewriting lines and improv-ing, which tends to get the goats of a lot of his co-stars (Richard Dreyfuss famously included, plus Chevy Case, Richard Donner, Lucy Liu, and McG, who claims Murray head-butted him; Dan Aykroyd would nickname him The Murricane for such behaviour). He took a circuitous path to comedy, attending college for pre-med but then billmurraydropping out after being arrested for marijuana possession. He then ended up doing National Lampoon Radio Hour with Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, and John Belushi, and eventually met back up with them on SNL as well. He was a bankable comedy star throughout the 80s and 90s, and then reinvented his career more recently as a dramatic actor, taking on roles where he’s often cynical or depressed (or both!) rather than the flat-out nuts of What About Bob.

Bill Murray is a Hollywood Luddite – he has no agent, and no business manager. Pete Docter wanted him for the voice of Sulley in Monsters, Inc. but had no way of contacting him and had to move on. Murray went on to voice Garfield instead because he was anxious to work with the Coen brothers. Sound fishy? You’re right. The script is co-written by a Joel Cohen, but not that Joel Coen. A business manager may have sussed that out. He’s also missed out on roles in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Squid and the Whale, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Little Miss Sunshine – the latter being the only one he regrets.

mrmurrayBill Murray is an icon with legendary status among his many fans. An entire website is dedicated to telling the best Bill Murray stories. He’s elusive but if you catch him on the right day, he can be surprisingly engaging. He has inspired all kinds of tributes, from the Bill Murray colouring book my sister sent me for Christmas, to Cook Your Own Food – A Bill Murray Scratch And Sniff  , which depicts the sights and smells of various Murray movies.

So while I’d freak out of Bob showed up at the cottage, Bill I’d welcome with a glass of scotch and open arms. Wouldn’t you?

 

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38 thoughts on “What About Bob

  1. mikeladano

    Great review! I have loved this movie since Day 1, saw it in the theaters. I understand the people who find Bill Murray far too annoying in this movie, but if you can handle Bob Wiley, he’s such a treat! I agree about the creepiness of Bob stalking Dr. Marvin and especially befriending his kids. You have to just close your eyes and ignore I guess! I still love Bob Wiley!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      He’s over the top, but that’s kind of the point. It’s hilarious when it happens to Richard Dreyfuss because you kind of feel like he deserves it, but nobody wants to find this guy on their own vacation, god forbid!

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      Reply
      1. mikeladano

        Dreyfuss was so funny in this too, and sometimes people forget you need the straight man for the whacky stuff to work! “Death therapy Bob, guaranteed cure.”

        Like

  2. filmfunkel

    I love this film now – not so much at first.

    Favorite Bill Murray story. Man is eating at Wendy’s. Bill Murray picks up one of the man’s fries, eats it, and says “No one’s ever going to believe you.” When asked, Bill Murray simply said he could neither or deny the event. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. tubularsock

    Now if someone took a fry off Tubularsock’s plate I’d deck the fucker! …. then Tubularsock would become violent, Bill Murray on not!

    Did love this film however ….. Tubularsock thought Bob was normal.

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. kdcol

    Hell yeah, I’d love for Bill Murray to crash my vacay! I haven’t seen him in anything in such a long time. I didn’t know why, well until now. Interesting info! 🙂

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    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      He’s definitely still around, he just does less blockbustery movies. We loved him in St Vincent. He’s also really great in just about anything Wes Anderson.
      He was in Aloha, briefly, but that one’s pretty skippable.

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  5. sweetarchive

    Wow, I totally forgot about this movie!!! Awesome right up, Jay!!! I do share your love for Bill Murray. I think he’s one of the best actors out there, and he sure does have a unique way of making people laugh and relate to him. Nice!!!

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  6. Everyday Adventures at Home... Hurrah!

    I enjoyed this review because it touches on something I have noticed – it can be hard (or at least highly amusing) to watch movies that unrealistically portray a situation in your own career, whatever it may be. The movie really has to compensate with other redeeming features.

    I am not a therapist, and it’s been many years since I watched What About Bob, but I recall having a similar reaction to you: Wouldn’t a therapist call the cops? … Then still deciding to let myself enjoy and laugh. Take care!

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    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      Yes, there are SO many movies that require us to suspend our disbelief, and that can actually be fun to just let go.
      I think you’re right though about if a movie is too close to home, career or otherwise, it can be distracting if it’s not realistic.
      EXCEPT.
      It would seem that lawyer movies are an exception. Those can be so over the top, and yet I know a lawyer who still LOVES them.

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      Reply
  7. Anna (Film Grimoire)

    Oh yeah, if any one of my clients (mainly kids and adolescents… but still) showed up on my doorstep I’d be giving them a nice talking to and then calling their caregivers to escort them home. I’m with you on Bill Murray though, he sounds like a nice guy, so I’d totally invite him in for a coffee! I’m also really intrigued by that scratch and sniff book.

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    Reply
    1. Jay Post author

      I know! I kind of want to order it just to satisfy my curiosity but I think sushi from Lost In Translation is one of the sniffs, and that seems a little…unpleasant.

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      Reply
  8. Christopher

    What you’ve highlighted here is how much What About Bob, or Bob Wiley–is like Bill Murray himself. At first he’s obnoxious and no one can stand to be around him, but in the end everyone except Richard Dreyfus loves him. At the end I was laughing but also a voice in the back of my head kept asking, who’s really the crazy one here? And does it matter?
    What I love though is it’s such a delicious twist on darker more dramatic films like Unlawful Entry or Consenting Adults where a crazy person wreaks havoc on a sane person’s life.

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    1. Jay Post author

      Haha, I love that this movie had you hearing voices in your head 😉
      And you’re absolutely right – usually a crazy person invading your house would be so much scarier, but Bill Murray make it seem so fun!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  9. StephLove

    I do like Bill Murray, in his crazier roles and the more serious recent ones (Lost in Translation, St. Vincent). At his best he brings real depth to his characters, even when they are not so nice people.

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  10. Pingback: A little light incest | Assholes Watching Movies

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