Sunday, June 15, 2014

What About Bob? (1991)

This is the kind of role Bill Murray was born to play, as a good-natured nut who manages to drive his new psychiatrist (Richard Dreyfuss) absolutely crazy when he crashes the doctor's family vacation by the lake. As Bob overcomes his own neuroses and disorders, he also inadvertently proceeds to turn the doctor's life entirely upside down, finally reducing him to a raving lunatic.

Director Frank Oz does a great job with this kind of material (see DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS), and has two fine actors to work with here. Murray delivers a pitch-perfect performance, and Dreyfuss makes a great foil for Murray's antics. Julie Hagerty also does a good job in a sympathetic role as Dreyfuss' wife, offsetting his irate outbursts with her underplayed delivery. The editing, by Anne V. Coates, expertly builds to a frantic pace to keep up with the increasingly zany situations, which are occasionally marred only by the film's busy soundtrack, which -- like many '90s comedies -- is somewhat over-scored (by Miles Goodman), too often emphasizing the craziness of the comic antics rather than allowing them to stand on their own. All in all, a very funny comedy, probably one of the best of the decade. Highly recommended for fans of Bill Murray's offbeat comic sensibility.

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