Synopsis and plot of the film
When Bob comes to the therapist, he has almost every imaginable phobia in the world. The nervous therapist gives him a copy of his new book before he goes on vacation for a month. Bob discovers where the doctor is on vacation and goes to see him, changing the lives of both men forever.
“What About Bob? Summary of the film
The following is a summary of the spoilers.
Bob Wiley (Bill Murray) is a likable and ordinary man who suffers from so many phobias that he has trouble leaving his apartment. He is divorced and alone and regularly seeks treatment from various therapists. But he doesn’t do much with these therapists because his fears consume him.
This is where the egotistical Dr. Leo Marvin (Richard Dreyfuss), who recently published a book titled Baby Steps, comes in. Bob is so well cared for that his current therapist fires him and drives him to Dr. Marvin. If Bob is feeling well during the first session, there is a big problem: Dr. Marvin is going on his annual month-long family vacation to Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire. Unable to function without a therapist, Bob follows Leo to the lake.
Although Leo is very upset by Bob’s sudden appearance, he sees desperation in Bob’s face. He tells him to take a vacation from his problems. This is a breakthrough for Bob, and Leo seems to have averted a minor crisis. The next morning, however, Leo learns that Bob will also be vacationing on Lake Winnipesaukee as a guest of the Guttmans (Tom Aldredge and Susan Willis). They despise Leo for buying the lake house they have been saving for years, and when Bob confronts Leo about it, it suits the Guttmans perfectly.
Bob now wants to be friends with Leo, but being friends with a patient is too little for Leo. This does not stop Bob from befriending Leo’s family, his wife Faye (Julie Hagerty) and their two children Anna (Catherine Erbe) and Sigmund (Charlie Korsmo). The children seem to bond even more with Bob than with their father.
When Bob takes a vacation from his phobias, he begins to relax. He goes swimming with Anna and teaches Sigmund to dive, which angers Leo because he has been trying in vain to teach her for years. In his frustration, Leo pushes Bob into the lake. But, kind Faye invites Bob to dinner. Bob agrees; little does he know that Leo’s malicious acts toward her are not part of his therapy.
After dinner, Bob has to spend the night with them because a storm has passed over the lake. However, Leo demands that Bob leave the house early the next morning because Good Morning America will be there to interview him about the children’s ladders. To Leo’s annoyance, Bob is always there in the morning, and the television crew thinks it’s okay to include Bob in the interview. Leo doesn’t do so well and he makes a fool of himself. Bob, on the other hand, is calm and cool and relaxed. His scathing criticism of Leo and the book is a distraction from the good doctor.
Leo then threw a tantrum. He then tries to take Bob to the hospital, but the hospital staff quickly lets him go after Bob befriends them. Since he shows them full mental health and has made real therapeutic progress by spending time with Dr. Marvin’s family, they have no reason to keep him.
Now forced to take Bob home, Leo drops him off in the middle of nowhere on his way home. Bob always manages to get home, and Leo gets home before he does. Through various misadventures, Leo returns in the evening when Faye throws a surprise party for him. He is delighted that his sister Lily (Fran Brill) is also attending. But when Bob suddenly shows up and kisses Lily, Leo has a nervous breakdown. He attacks Bob. Bob still doesn’t realize that Leo hates him until Faye explains it to him like he’s five years old. Bob finally agrees to leave.
Meanwhile, Leo breaks into the store, steals a shotgun and 20 pounds of explosives. He finds Bob and takes him into the woods. There he ties him up with the explosives for a lethal treatment. Then he goes back home alone and pretends there is no Bob. Bob thinks the explosives are some kind of props and uses Leo’s small steps to see danger as a metaphor for his problems. He frees himself both from his limitations and from his persistent fears.
In front of Marvin’s house, Bob is full of praise for Leo, who has finally cured him. But suddenly Marvin’s summer cottage explodes because Bob has left “props” explosives in it. It’s too much for Leo, and he falls into a catatonic state. Now he is hospitalized and the board of trustees revokes his medical license for attempted murder.
Months pass and a still catatonic Leo attends Bob and Lily’s wedding. After the priest proclaims them husband and wife, Leo emerges from that state screaming “No! Unfortunately, his objection is ignored while the family rejoices in his sudden recovery.
The film’s afterword states that Bob went back to school and became a psychologist. He wrote his bestseller “Death Therapy,” which Leo is now claiming the rights to.
More information about the film
Frequently asked questions
What is the movie about, Bob?
What about Bob? – Quotes from movies – Rotten Tomatoes
What kind of mental illness does Bob have?
As Bob described, he has OCD, panic disorder with agoraphobia, hypochondria, multiple phobias and a highly dependent personality.
What’s up with Bob? What’s the end of “What’s up with Bob?”
The text at the end reveals that Bob went back to school and became a psychologist, then wrote a bestseller called Death Therapy, and that Leo is suing him for his rights.
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