Doctor Leo Marvin, an egotistical psychiatrist in New York City, is looking forward to his forthcoming appearance on a "Good Morning America" telecast during which he plans to brag about Baby Steps, his new book about emotional disorder theories in which he details his philosophy of treating mental patients and their phobias. Meanwhile, Bob Wiley is a recluse who is so afraid to leave his own apartment that he has to talk himself out the door. When Bob is pawned off on Leo by a psychiatrist colleague, Bob becomes attached to Leo. Leo finds Bob extremely annoying. When Leo accompanies his wife Fay, his daughter Anna, and his son Siggy to a peaceful New Hampshire lakeside cottage for a month-long vacation, Leo thinks he's been freed from Bob. Leo expects to mesmerize his family with his prowess as a brilliant husband and remarkable father who knows all there is to know about instructing his wife and raising his kids. But Bob isn't going to let Leo enjoy a quiet summer by the lake. By ... Written by
It might be a little simplistic to call this "Bill Murray's Movie",because in truth,this film works just as well because it has a fantastic support from Richard Dreyfuss,Julie Haggerty,Charlie Korsmo,KAthryn Erbe and director Frank Oz. Still,you cannot watch this film without feeling like Murray's complete abandon in this film is what gives this film its pep,spark and life. This might be one of the more energized performances of his long and well-padded career.
Dr.Leo Marvin(Dreyfuss,who has settled into being the 'Uptight fuddy-dudd' roles from here,as opposed to the more restive,youthful roles of past movies like "Jaws" and "Goodbye Girl")seems to have it all. Loving wife,healthy,normal kids and a career that is on the verge of taking off:a comfortable private practice in New York and a self-help book about to be published nationwide. At the last minute,he accepts another colleague's patient(for whom he does not wonder as to why his peer is so breathlessly trying to pass this patient off to him):one Bob Wiley(Murray). Bob doesn't have anything wrong with him;he has MANY things wrong with him. Multiphobic,clingy and more than a little under-developed in his sense of emotional attachment,Bob misreads the good doctor's brush off(As the doctor gets ready for a Labor Day getaway with his famille)as being a cure-all,and is immediately smitten with the doctor's methods,approach,diagnosis and treatment. He decides he's going to insinuate himself into Dr.Marvin's life(in somewhat of a mixture of gratitude and need),and follows him to the rural,New England lakeside vacation where the Marvins are staying.
Alvin Sargent and Laura Ziskin's story and script make the actors' moves and lines so easy you'd almost think there were elements of improvisation. But Murray and Dreyfuss are(and not to belabor a point here but...)the key here. Murray's socially oblivious and free sense of bonding clashes DRAMATICALLY with the button-down professionalism of Dreyfuss' doctor,and as Muray thinks himself "Better",Dreyfuss' shrink seems to be getting worse,confounded by his unwanted patient's persistence and loyalty. While the unabashed enthusiasm of Murray's character might drive away some viewers who might see this as "annoying" or "too much", Murray fans and,I think,fans of sort of odd,non-formula comedies will DEFINITELY appreciate the whole story and rhythm of this film. Perhaps it's a bit too early to state this(though this film,which I first caught in the theaters in first release sixteen years ago,has had more than a decade to simmer in the memories of moviegoers),I feel this is something of a modern comedy classic. I've seen this film no less than three times and,to chime in with an IMDb message board poster,this IS a truly re-watchable movie.
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