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  • 1991movierewind

Episode #29: What About Bob?

Listen to Episode 29 of the Podcast here while you enjoy the show notes.

SUMMARY - In What About Bob?, renowned psychotherapist Dr. Leo Marvin (played by Richard Dreyfuss) is about to release his new novel, be interviewed by Good Morning America and go on a month-long vacation with his family. The only thing standing in his way is his brand new patient Bob Wiley (played by Bill Murray), who is so dependent on therapy that he tracks the Marvin family down and refuses to leave.

Screenplay by Tom Schulman; Directed by Frank Oz, and released on May 17, 1991.


The movie wastes little time in getting us introduced to the two main characters and getting them in the same room. Dr. Marvin is high on himself.

Bob shows his germaphobia and other neuroses.

Such as fake Tourette's Syndrome and other atypical behaviors.

We see how manipulative Bob can be in his desperation for constant contact with his therapist

It can be sort of funny, but also a bit scary when thought about seriously. It also gives us a chance to see some of the many small earlier roles from people who went on to win prestigious acting awards or find greater success.

It's always interesting to see who has been in the business for over 30 years.

Do you recognize the man in the lower right? We did and talk about it in the episode.

When Bob infiltrates the family, they all love him, except for Dr. Marvin

And we see him get more frustrated, partially because Bob is able to connect with them in a way he can't.

Bob opens up and goes on adventures with them, like the famous "I'm sailing!" scene, which still provides a nice laugh.

On the other hand, literally, Dr. Marvin tries to connect with therapy puppets.

One of the more interesting aspects was how Dreyfuss progressively ramped up his reactions and anger and mannerisms throughout.

Bob can simply do no wrong and steals the spotlight, including in the big TV interview.

Whereas the first couple acts show a battle of characters, the final act sees the movie switch gears into more silly, off the wall situations and start to break away from the realism.

Including an explosive ending

Comedy wise, less of the jokes came from Bob's issues and more came from the people surrounding him, which was great. We also loved the diner owners that were rooting against Dr. Marvin at every turn.

It's unfortunate that the family didn't have much to do in this. The mom and daughter were largely pushed to the side except for when they were actively accepting of Bob. The son had one of the best scenes as he and Bob traded insults.

We have a Game Boy sighting! Listen to the episode for a deeper dive into Charlie Korsmo as well as other cast.

Awards Talk - Our favorite awards show is the only one to mention as Bill Murray was nominated for the MTV Movie Awards in the Best Comedic Performance category.


This week we didn't have any crime related to the picture, but Nikki did outline some of the animosity/hostility surrounding the two leads in the film.

Articles about Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus

We also have covered a lot of the music and TV in previous episodes since several were released around the same time. But we did find info on a potential TV reboot of this movie called "What about Barb?"

And here's another article about the cancellation of What About Barb?


Nikki 1-5 star scale - 3 out of 5

Jon 0-4 star scale - 2 out of 4

Would you watch it again? - Nikki said yes, but Jon leans towards no. The movie had its moments, which would bring Niki back for another view, but ultimately the comedic value isn't strong enough for Jon to warrant a re-watch.

If you want to watch What About Bob?, as of this recording on August 2021, it’s available on Digital Rental, VHS, DVD. Check your local listings.


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Join us next time for Bare Essentials available on VHS or YouTube


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