What About Bob?

Movie review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
What About Bob? Movie Poster Image
Popular with kidsParents recommend
Appealingly silly romp for kids and adults.
  • PG
  • 1991
  • 99 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 17 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

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 & Representations

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.

Violence

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

Sex
Language

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.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bytheboysbrosss October 2, 2019
4 bitch, (2 of them are s.o.b) 3 hell, 1 d**k ( bad for pg? really
Parent of a 8-year-old Written bylaurenwray March 16, 2019

Hilarious

Very funny for my 6 & 7 year old. Enjoyed watching as a family. Zero sex scenes, which is tough to find.
Kid, 8 years old May 15, 2020

Literally the BEST comedy ever!!!!!!!!!

Ok parents you must listen. This film may be to funny for young children. Just kidding but it sooooo funny! The only thing is a little bit crude and language. B... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byCici25DaBest April 18, 2019

Great mature comedy for teens ages 14+

great comedy, with a good amount of language, suggestive jokes, and bad messages and violence from Leo when he goes crazy, but also contains good messages too l... Continue reading

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?

This movie is definitive proof of Bill Murray's loopy charm. 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.

Talk to your kids 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

Themes & Topics

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