4. WHAT ABOUT BOB? (1991)
In his biggest comedies, such as the Ghostbusters movies, Stripes, and Groundhog Day, Murray is identified by his signature wise-ass arrogance, which is totally abandoned in the manic and consistently clever What About Bob?
Here, he’s pathetic, batshit crazy, and endearing, playing a desperate patient, Bob Wiley, who follows his uptight psychiatrist, Dr. Leo Marvin (a perfectly humorless Richard Dreyfuss) on a family vacation. The doc’s family doesn’t notice Bob’s lunacy, instead embracing him more than they do Leo himself; naturally, Dr. Marvin slowly loses his mind and Bob appears saner by the minute.
Playing against Dreyfuss’ unwavering straightman, Murray storms through What About Bob? with a brilliant sense of playfulness. It’s not a show performance; whether he’s taking “baby steps” or sailing while tied to a boat’s mast, he’s hilarious without trying too hard.
As a character, Bob Wiley is the best kind of nutjob, one whose insane ramblings are both funny and harmless. Well, harmless to us viewers behind the fourth wall; if we were in Doc Marvin’s shoes, we’d probably want to kill the crazy son of a bitch, too.