What About Bob?

  • Review Date: August 22, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Running Time: 99 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Appealingly silly romp for kids and adults.
  • Review Date: August 22, 2005
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 1991
  • Running Time: 99 minutes





What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie makes light of serious mental health issues and turns what's essentially stalking into situation comedy. But there are also some positive take-aways about valuing family and the importance of feeling loved and included.

Positive role models

The two main characters are both exaggerated types -- Bob is delusional, and Dr. Marvin is selfish and egotistical. Both of them learn a few things over the course of the movie, but overall they're not particularly sympathetic.


The main characters indulge in cartoonish, slapstick violence (lots of falls and the like).

Not applicable

Several silly yet profane insults, including words like "damn," "bitch," "dick," "testicles," and "suck." Most of the language comes in scenes mocking Tourette's Syndrome.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this movie contains a mild amount of profanity, much of it delivered in scenes mocking Tourette's Syndrome. The profanity is silly, with insults like "testicle head" and "barf-breathed douche mouth" predominating; nonetheless, it may be too much for some kids and parents. The movie also makes light of serious mental health issues such as paranoia and agoraphobia and features a main character who's essentially a stalker, though this is presented humorously. Some cartoonish violence occurs near the end; for instance, one character hangs explosives on another and threatens to blow him up.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Flush with the success of his new self-help book, psychologist Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss) accepts a new patient referred by a colleague. Bob Wiley (Bill Murray) turns out to be deeply neurotic, and after just one session with Dr. Marvin forms such a strong attachment that he tracks the psychologist to his vacation spot and proceeds to complicate both Dr. Marvin's life and a prestigious TV interview. To make matters worse, everyone besides Dr. Marvin sees Bob as an endearing schlub, including Dr. Marvin's family.

Is it any good?


WHAT ABOUT BOB? is definitive proof of Bill Murray's loopy charm, because with a different cast -- or a different slant -- this classic comedy about a kooky stalker and his hapless psychologist could have been a routine sitcom-style flick with a creepy edge. We've seen this type of high-concept setup before, with main characters who steadfastly refused to let go of the object of their affection, no matter how harshly they were shooed away. But Murray's such an affable, adorable actor that even predictable scenes have a sort of cockeyed charm.

With both Dreyfuss and Murray cast in roles that take advantage of their strong points (Dreyfuss as the straight-man-on-the-edge; Murray as an out-there eccentric), What About Bob? cashes in on their charm. The result is a goofy, good-hearted comedy that's gentle enough for kids yet witty enough for parents.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about mental health concepts. Bob is presented as "crazy" but not dangerous -- how might a real person with similar emotional problems act?

  • How does the film's portrayal of a stalker deviate from the real-life

  • danger they pose? How could Dr. Marvin have dissuaded Bob from pursuing

  • him without resorting to violence?

  • This lighthearted movie could be

  • a good jumping-off point for parents wishing to show how actual

  • mental-health difficulties differ from cinematic portrayals.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:January 1, 1991
DVD release date:July 11, 2000
Cast:Bill Murray, Julie Hagerty, Richard Dreyfuss
Director:Frank Oz
Studio:Buena Vista
Topics:Misfits and underdogs
Run time:99 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:language and comic violence

This review of What About Bob? was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 11 years old June 27, 2011

What About Bob 101

What About Bob was a hilarious movie! There were several scenes where language was blurted out. ( if these scenes were fast-forwarded, 7+ ) One of my favorite family movies!
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Adult Written byG3 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age

Not a family movie!

Teen, 13 years old Written byaidanqm1996 August 22, 2009

Language... again.... *sigh*

Why do they have to add language?!
What other families should know
Too much swearing


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