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The story here is unimportant - it's all a bit daft and if you look too closely at it, it all falls apart. For example - the professor has created a flying robot that has full intelligence and character but yet he hasn't made any money for himself or his college!, is the flubber alive or not? etc. But really it's all about the set pieces and the jokes. As such it falls down a little - it's good for kids but there's nothing in the crude slapstick for adults. Jokes include the usual "people getting hit in the head" style humour.
Williams character is not funny at all - a bit of a weakness in a comedy lead. In fact his forgetfulness is just stupid at times and doesn't have any charm to cover it. The funniest bits actually revolve around McDonald's Wilson - he doesn't get good lines but he has lots of incidental laughs. Ted Levine and Clancy Brown have both done better than this and are limited to comedy thugs - although both were probably glad to be in a big movie. Other well known faces include Raymond J. Barry and Wil Wheaton, although these are also underused. It's not really a movie about performances but I think it's still important.
The best characters are Weebo and the flubber. Weebo is quite funny and actually has a deep character - she's the secretary in love with her boss type - she also creates a strangely moving scene. The flubber is good - best in one big musical number halfway through and I wonder if they could have had more imaginative scenes with it as a character rather than just a bouncy ball.
Overall it's a kids film - don't expect anything more than that.
The story revolves around a naive and eccentric inventor and college professor portrayed by Robin Williams. he creates a "living" specimen of goo that can shape-shift at will and is incredibly bouncy, but his dedication to it's creation causes him to forget his wedding. He ends up using the 'Flubber' to get his fiancé back and save his college from threats of closing down. I have no idea how the movie tries to make it work. I didn't really understand as a kid and I don't get it as an adult.
The plot is weird, the directing isn't very good, and many of the characters are wooden. Overall, this Disney flick can be skipped. You won't be missing much
Despite a bowling bowl repeatedly hitting someone in the head, it's a fairly harmless movie with no language problems, which is a rarity in a Robin Williams film. Robin is the "absent- minded professor," in this "Dr. Philip Brainiard." You can call him, "Dr. Phil." There are one or two sneaky-vulgar lines but nothing much.
With the flubber-substance making balls bounce forever, into every object, you get a lot of slapstick scenes that are either stupid or laugh-out-loud funny. The story, geared a lot more for kids than adults, has a nice lighthearted feel to it. For adults, one viewing is plenty, but kids will enjoy it multiple times.
The plot turns upon Brainard's attempts to produce his flubber, which he sees as a solution to the financial problems confronting the college at which he teaches and of which Sara is the principal. (Like another reviewer, I found myself wondering why he didn't just try marketing his domestic robot or his talking computer, inventions which I thought would have had just as much commercial potential). Along the way, he has to fight off Wilson, the handsome but too smooth principal of another college who is his rival for Sara's affections, and a corrupt businessman who wants to use the flubber for his own selfish ends.
The film was clearly designed as a comedy for children, and works quite well as such, aided by a good deal of slapstick humour, mostly involving Robin Williams as Brainard. Unlike some children's films, however, such as the "Harry Potter" series, this one does not have much in it to keep adults entertained. Williams is clearly a talented comedian, but strangely enough, with a few exceptions such as "Mrs Doubtfire", he has been most successful in films with a serious purpose like "Dead Poets Society" or "Good Morning Vietnam", although even in these he often manages to find a use for his comic talents. In many of his comedies his talents just seem wasted. "Club Paradise" is an example, and "Flubber" is another. All the other characters, with one exception, just seem like stock figures with little individuality about them.
The one exception is Weebo the computer. The British computer pioneer Alan Turing devised what has since become known as the "Turing Test" for deciding whether a machine can be said to be intelligent. A human judge engages in a conversation with two other parties, one a human and the other a machine; if the judge cannot tell which is which, the machine is said to pass the test. Unfortunately, if the human involved were one of those in this film, Weebo would fail the test. She (Weebo has a female voice and personality) is smart, funny, sensitive and lovable, much more so than anyone else in the film, so it would be easy to tell them apart. And when your most interesting character is an electronic rather than a flesh-and-blood one, your film has got problems. 5/10
Getting to what the movie is like, these aren't the best graphics, but what do you expect in an 1997 film? The Flubber, Weebo etc. are already neatly done, which I find quite impressive for a film made at that time.
The humor in this may not be the jokes, but not all kids understand certain types of joke, so in the film they just went for the classic 'Bad Guys Whacked In The Face' type. There is no gore or extreme violence in this, everything has a light-hearted touch to it and the flubber truly seems fun to play with.
Robin does do a good job as the professor, making many wacky inventions and always forgetting. Weebo played by Jodi, continues to be the kind, thoughtful person - or in this case computer - that she is when she plays Ariel in the little mermaid.
Overrall it's a pretty good film, not ideal for adults but then why get a kids film?
Overall the movie is truly unique. Flubber is a great character who young children will fall in love with immediately. You'll really enjoy Flubber's great dance number! Forget the bad reviews and give this film a chance. It's been eight years since I saw the film for the first time and I still smile whenever I think about it.
Judge for yourself. Watch it.
William's discovers discovers some kind of flying rubber which may save his college which is in a financial crisis. So excited he is with his invention that he forgets his wedding day for the third time. Why his bride to be could not make sure that in case he forgets, he is accompanied by two people to drag him to the church on time is anyone's guess.
His girlfriend who also happens to be the College Dean gets the attention of a love rival and a mobster wants the formula for flubber and sends his henchman to retrieve it.
Williams is assisted by an Artificial Intelligent flying robot called Weebo which strangely is not marketed by Williams to save the college.
The film is knockabout slapstick squarely aimed at kids and they will appreciate it the most. Adults will find the film too silly, flawed and simplistic.
The story by John Hughes and the late Bill Walsh follows the zany efforts of a scatterbrained university chemistry professor. Dr. Philip Brainard (Robin Williams of "Popeye") accidentally cooks up a gravity defying concoction called 'flubber.' Generating its own perpetual motion, 'flubber' has uses limited only by the imagination. Unlike the limp lump of 'flubber' in "The Absent-Minded Professor," the 'flubber' "Flubber" radiates a mischievous personality, but the filmmakers never solidify its amorphous character. Not only will Brainard 'flubber' rescue Medfield College from bankruptcy and closure, but 'flubber' will also redeem him in the eyes of the long-suffering sweetheart that he wants to wed: Medfield College President Sara Jean Reynolds (Marcia Gay Harden.) Brainard heads up Sara Jean's you-know-what list. Three times in a row he has left her stranded at the altar! If things aren't bad enough, Brainard's old academic nemesis Wilson Croft (Christopher MacDonald of "Thelma & Louise") lurks in the background. Oil and conniving, Croft plans to pilfer Brainard's fiancée as well as take credit for his 'flubber' formula and the millions of dollars that it is sure to reap. The professor's next bigger enemy is perhaps his worst: corrupt businessman Chester Hoenicker (Raymond J. Barry of "Mad City"). Hoenicker's bratty son Bennett (Will Wheaton of TV's "Star Trek: The Next Generation") flunked Brainard's class. Consequently, Bennett got suspended from the basketball team. Initially, all that Hoenicker sought was a simple change of grade so Bennett, the top hoopster on the Medfield basketball team, could resume playing. When Hoenicker senior learns more about 'flubber,' he joins forces with the equally avaricious Croft to rip-off Braniard's discovery.
Women have come a long way since the 1961 original. Disney has promoted the fiancée from being the college president's secretary to the college president! Although Sara Jean presides over Medfield, she cannot keep it out of the red without the help of a good man. "Flubber" implies that women indeed have come a long way, but not far enough to get by on their own wits. Moreover, Sara Jean's romance with Brainard appears to occupy her every waking minute instead of the financial crisis that threatens her small, private college. Her priorities appear demeaningly misplaced. WEEBO, Brainard's flying female computer, serves as a sort of bad girl here who gets her just comeuppance for tampering with Brainard's social life. At one point, WEEBO creates a cyber-Siren image for herself to detract Brainard from Sara Jean.
"Flubber" sounds like a can't-miss-hit from this description. If anything, "Flubber" proves that absent-minded audiences appreciate movies with an absence of drama. The original movie contained a richer plot with a variety of nuances that heightened its hilarity. "Flubber" smears on obvious slapstick to churn up laughs. John Hughes' script relies on his tried and true "Home Alone" routines. Hughes deserves the blame for this half-baked farce. For example, Hoenicker's henchman, Smith (Clancy Brown of "Starship Troopers") and Wesson (Ted Levine of "Silence of the Lambs") are clearly stand-ins for the Joe Pesci & Daniel Stern duo from the "Home Alone" comedies. Brainard's flubber clobbers them literally in the form of a golf ball and a bowling ball. Smith gets nailed by a non-stop golf ball, while a hard flying bowling ball wallops Wesson. When either object strikes them, these goons hit the deck like pole-axed ten pins.
Director Les Mayfield of "Encino Man" and "Miracle on 34th Street") and scenarist John Hughes cannot make up their own minds about flubber. Flubber has endless possibilities, and its embryonic personality can be playful but occasionally snappish, too. WEEBO accuses Brainard of giving flubber "too much free will." Flubber never seems to live up to its potential unless it is exploding, flying through rooms, and cronking noggins. Most of the humor comes from how flubber reacts to different situations more than how Brainard applies it. Because they never define the nature of flubber, its wide open character lacks dramatic clarity. For example, the filmmakers don't set any limits to what flubber can do. Perhaps Mayfield and company chose green as flubber's lime-green color because the special effects were so expensive.
Credit goes to director Les Mayfield for the get-up-and-goo pace of dizzy Disney film. He does a find job of seamlessly integrating the over-the-top special effects with live action, too. "Flubber" is aimless but predictable fun. The villains seem less villainous this time around, and Christopher MacDonald's bad guy appears simply to give flubber something through which to fly. The bowel humor here and there adds little to the humor and seems out of place in a juvenile movie. Parents may find themselves in a curious moral dilemma trying to explain to their kids why Brainard's cheating tactics should be condoned. He applies flubber to the basketball team's sneakers to help them beat their tall, merciless opponents on the court. Danny Elfman's lively music emphasizes the fast, bouncy pace of "Flubber" and helps the film scoot right along to its inevitable happy ending.
It's still somewhat decent entertainment for the kids. The characters should be enjoyable for them and some of the comical situations are good enough to make them laugh.
Robin Williams is always fun to watch in a comedy but however in this case it feels like he's holding back to not completely play a nutty professor. It's perhaps a bit of a disappointing to most. When you know Robin Williams plays the lead role in a comedy you would expect some more fireworks and hilarious situations from him. His talent is wasted, a real missed opportunity for the movie to become a great one. Christopher McDonald plays a typical 'villainoush' Christopher McDonald role and he does it once more really great. Other well known actors in the movie are Marcia Gay Harden, Raymond J. Barry (boy, he's beginning to look really old now), Ted Levine and Clancy Brown. But none of the characters feel really developed well enough in the movie, with the exception of the robotic character Weebo. Of course it's not a very good sign when the best developed- and featured character of the movie is not even an human...
Also the use of 'Flubber' is highly below par. From a movie named "Flubber" I expected something more from the green slimy stuff. It however doesn't play a that significant role in the movie and the things that are done with the Flubber are far from original or interesting. The Flubber itself however looks fantastic through some early computer effects. Remember that this movie was released in 1997 when the special effects were of course not as advanced as present day is the case. The effects from this movie look great and really fully convincing. Too bad that it isn't featured very well in the movie.
The story is of course predictable from A to Z and the movie has absolutely no surprises in it. It makes "Flubber" a very easily forgettable movie that is far from great. The movie had far more potential really. If only that had made some better choices with its story and perhaps picked a different director...
The movie is good and professional looking, so from a technical point of view the movie does really not disappoint. Also the fun musical score by Danny Elfman makes the movie a watchable one
The kids will probably still enjoy it but still the movie feels like a big waste of some far more and greater potential, which the movie really had.
Take Flubber, for example. Flubber is the kind of movie that I enjoyed as a young boy. But, I've grown up over the years and to tell you the truth, it doesn't hold up for me.
The story was originally from the 1961 comedy film, "The Absent-Minded Professor". In that film, Fred MacMurray played the lead character. MacMurray's character was a complete nut case who invents a new and improved substance that can bounces off the floor due the amount of energy stored inside. The substance was named Flubber, due to the fact that it is flying rubber. The absent-minded professor tried to convince his colleagues that flubber can saved their university from going into shambles.
Here, Robin Williams plays the absent-minded professor. Professor Phillip Brainard, (who could be a distant relative or son of the original Absent-Minded Professor), is in the process of creating a new substance that can raise money to save the college from closure. Brainard's colleague is a flying robot called Weebo. Brainard soon discovers flubber and from the start of it, Flubber doesn't want to settle down.
The story deepens as Brainard tries to convince the college president and his fiancée, (Marcia Gay Harden), but it doesn't turn out the way he wants it to go. He even expands the idea of flubber by converting the substance into a liquid and then into a white cream. In one particular scene in the movie, Brainard tries out the flubber by spraying it onto a basketball that can bounces as twice as much as a regular basketball. The idea even becomes more popular when it spreads onto a basketball team. Their sneakers are also sprayed with flubber, making them bounce more higher and faster than ever.
There are, however, bad guys in Flubber, and their job in the movie is to try to steal the substance from Brainard. But, to tell you the truth, you seen these bad guys before in a movie. And it's no surprise that these characters are ripped right out of Home Alone. It's ironic because the script for the movie was written by John Hughes.
I don't know what happened to John Hughes back then. He started off his career with good movies like Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. But, after the big success of Home Alone, I believe Hughes dropped his pen and started depending on recycled material from his other movies to substitute in his scripts. Recycled material soon resulted in forgettable movies like Dutch, Career Opportunities and Curly Sue. Bad career move. And I supposed Flubber can be included in this specific category of forgettable John Hughes' movies.
Robin Williams looks as if he was practically on speed throughout the entire movie. At certain times throughout this movie, I thought he overacted as being the main character of the story. The slapstick did not work this time around since it didn't make me laugh the first time I saw it as a young boy. The flubber wasn't even worth my time since there wasn't anything special about the green goo. In fact, when Flubber soon shows up, the movie goes downhill from there with the green gelatin bouncing around the movie, breaking windows and panes of glass. I realize that after the movie was over, I forgot how many times Flubber went through a window or a pane of glass. It was very tiresome and boring the second time around.
Is there anything else I forgot? I don't think so. Except to say that I won't be looking forward to seeing this movie since this is one of those kids' movies that I like to forget. But, don't worry. There's plenty of other good or great kids' movies that I saw in my childhood. Flubber wasn't one of them. ★ 1/2 1 1/2 star.
You want to see how NOT to make a kid's comedy? Watch "Flubber" then count with me the ways:
1) Williams isn't funny (his hair seems to put in more acting time than he does).
2) It's written by John Hughes (and it isn't even good on a slapstick level! Sheesh!!).
3) Marcia Gay Harden is completely, totally, hopelessly wasted (did I say "totally"? Good!).
4) There aren't HALF as many funny situations in this one as there was in the original.
5) The bad guys act as if they're in a serious movie (though since there wasn't any laughs in this one, I can see where they would get confused for content).
6) There are more FX than anything else (when a movie forsakes its story in favor of an FX loop, it's not a good sign).
There are more, but we're only allowed 1,000 words for reviews here.
One star. For the FX. They're good.
With Flubber it's not only an idea copied. It's the whole film. Except a few scenes everything is like in The Absent Minded Professor. Only with better effects.
I gave this movie a 3 out of 10 for 2 reasons: 1. Robin Williams, a great actor, and 2. the effects - pretty good.
Except that Flubber is awfull.
This time around, the flubber has anthropomorphic properties. That change was simply an excuse to have the computer-animated dance scene, which was fun in a Scrubbing Bubbles kind of way. Other than that (and color), the special effects fell considerably short of the 1961 version. When people fly, they look like they are hanging on wires. When they fall, they look like they are hanging on wires. When they bounce -- well, you get the pattern.
These days, movie makers are free to do quite a few things that were not allowed in 1961. Unfortunately, many of them feel a need to remind us by including a gratuitously vulgar scene in everything they release. This time we get a man blowing flubber out his rectum. It was as if to say, "Take that! We've already got your money!"
I haven't seen The Absent-Minded Professor, so I couldn't compare the two films. But, to evaluate this movie alone, I'd say it is just an average movie with some whimsical fun and silly slapstick comedy, and a plot that really goes all over the place. Williams looks pretty odd in the movie, Harden did an OK job in her role, and McDonald was just plain annoying in his performance. I enjoyed the Weebo character, voiced by The Little Mermaid voice actress Jodi Benson. The little flying robot reminded me of the little aliens in the sci-fi flick *batteries not included, and her little TV screen that shows various Disney cartoon scenes whenever she makes emotions is a clever touch.
Overall, I didn't think it was a really exciting movie, but for its whimsical, slapstick and childish elements, this movie is best left for younger children to enjoy.
Professor Philip Brainard is an absent-minded professor with a living computer named Weebo that floats through the air as his assistant. He is in love with Dr. Sara Jean Reynolds, the president of Medfield, a college which is in financial trouble. Brainard is busy trying to create a substance that will save the college, and has failed to show up at his attempted wedding more than once. Sara gives him one more chance, and if he fails to show up this time, it will be the last straw! That night, he successfully creates a living green substance which he calls "flubber" (after Weebo says it's "flying rubber"), and it appears this substance will do the trick! Sadly, he also misses the wedding again, and Sara is fed up. Nonetheless, he thinks about how he's going to use flubber to save Medfield College, and tries to once again win the heart of Sara, who is now going out with Wilson Croft, Brainard's rival. Meanwhile, Bennett Hoenicker is a spoiled student whom Brainard has failed, and his father, the extremely wealthy Chester Hoenicker plans to persuade the professor to pass his son!
Robin Williams is a very talented comedian, but that doesn't really show in this movie. He's a bit tamer than you may expect, in the kind of role you may expect one to act crazy in, and he is certainly not very funny. After saying that, I should also point out that "Flubber" as a whole fails as a comedy. I certainly didn't laugh, or even smile very much, and the part that I remember laughing the most at wasn't even supposed to be funny! The scene I'm talking about is the one where Sara says "This is going to be the very last time I try to marry you," which reminds me, the relationship between Philip and Sara is a rather awkward part of the story, and I guess there are problems with the script. The only really good INTENTIONAL gag I can think of is the "Let him have it. Give it to him. No, give it to him. Stop that and give it to him..." one. Another problem I can't forget is the villains, ones which may not belong.
"Flubber" is a remake of the 1961 Disney film, "The Absent Minded Professor", which I haven't seen (I didn't even know "Flubber" was a remake until around the time I last saw it), but know the 1961 original is generally considered superior. Well, it is a common thing for remakes to be inferior to their predecessors (I'm certainly not saying they always are, but it's not uncommon for fans of the original to be disappointed to some degree by the remake), and I'm sure this one is no exception. Whether you've seen "The Absent Minded Professor" or not, and whether you like it or not if you have seen it, you have to remember that "Flubber" is a kids' movie, and for most adults, other than parents, it is an insignificant flick, and probably not worth it.
Flubber is a comedy movie that premiered in 1997. The movie is based on the stories "A Situation of Gravity" by Samuel W. Taylor and The Absent-Minded Professor (1961) by Bill Walsh. The movie is directed by Les Mayfield and stars Robin Williams, and Marcia Gay Harden. The movie centers around Professor Philip Brainard. The professor creates a new substance that he hopes to use to save the college from closure.
Flubber is an incredibly silly movie. This is warranted from its PG rating by the MPAA. The movie is a classic formula from Disney. There are not any plot twists that occur in this movie. Everything is predictable and stable. The movie is still not boring because of this. It has fun moments that the entire family can enjoy. It makes for a movie that is a general crowd pleaser rather than a movie that has something important to say. Disney movies tend to have a family focused message and this movie is no different.
The one surprise in the movie is from Weebo. The movie does hint at something new developing in the artificial intelligence but this ultimately does not go anywhere important. It sets the stage for the ending but it does not develop it into a deeper theme. The movie emphasizes the strange nature of Professor Philip Brainard but it still emphasizes the traditional Disney formula.
The movie is incredibly fun to watch. The movie has an electric style both from the Flubber substance that is created and from the cast. It really does seem like the cast is having fun with the silliness that is present in this movie. It makes for a movie that can be enjoyable to watch if one suspends their disbelief.
I would recommend 'Flubber' to an audience that is willing to turn their brain off and enjoy the comedy. It is an overall enjoyable movie.
Three stars out of four stars for 'Flubber'.