Flubber
Rating -

Comedy (US); 1997; Rated PG; 93 Minutes

Cast Includes
Robin Williams
Marcia Gay Harden
Christopher McDonald
Raymond Barry
Clancy Brown
Ted Levine

Produced by John Hughes and Ricardo Mestres; Directed By Les Mayfield; Screenwritten by John Hughes and Bill Walsh

Review Uploaded
8/16/98

Written by DAVID KEYES

"Flubber" is a movie that is so foolish and dimwitted that audiences would like nothing more than to see its stars put to sleep. It's an incompetent reflection of how the genre of remakes has faded over the years, and not only does it seem to prove that an actor like Robin Williams can lose all of his taste, but it also demonstrates that the people who went and saw it have lost their taste.

Robin Williams fills the role of "The Absent-Minded Professor": a person who has just discovered one of the greatest things of the century. He needs to pay off some sort of loan that he had pending on the college that he worked at, and in order to meet the deadline, he had to think up some sort of widely-popular invention. When he thinks he has failed at doing so, he turns to leave his experiment, and hears a funny noise coming from the container it is concealed in. He opens it up to find a green glob of glue, which is not only alive, but has abilities no normal object has ever had. Naming it "Flubber," Williams' character begins using it on everything he can think of.

At first, he puts it in the transmitter of his car, making it fly, and at another point, smears is all over a bowling ball and a golf ball, which get set off outside his house and continue to bounce into the air and back down through the entire movie. But the only times we see them hitting the ground is when two spies are present, and they constantly get hit by them. This ongoing series of scenes is reminiscent of "Home Alone."

The whole movie relies on these scenes to keep the villains of the picture noticeable. Without them getting hit, we would lose total interest in them. However, in the process, we all lose interest in Williams and his little creation.

When Williams thinks he has perfected his invention, he uses it on the shoes of the basketball team, because they have not won one game in the entire season, nor have they made a basket.

When all looks fine and dandy, Williams and his bride-to-be (who he had previously left standing at the altar three times) offer to sell the flying car to a nearby business man, so the money can go to saving the college.

But the villain, naturally, figures out Williams' cockamamie plan and steals away the Flubber, forcing Williams to capture it back in the last few scenes of the feature, like a hero in a standard Disney picture.

It seems that Williams has lost every ounce of intelligence here. Maybe, before choosing to star in it, he should have realized that the original "Absent-Minded Professor" has an absent-minded script. And maybe he should have realized that he has been in so many bad pictures recently that his audience is sick of it.

The other characters of the film seem like uninspired spin-offs of those in the original film, but this new "Flubber" thing makes the picture all the worse. I guess the Flubber is supposed to be the hero, but in fact, it doesn't do anything heroic, except stick to objects which help other characters jump higher, dribble balls faster, and make cars fly. There's absolutely no interest in this thing whatsoever: not even when it escapes the little crucible and dances to a show tune on a coffee table, with fake palm trees and several hundred smaller spawns of the substance.

Even worse, this professor's inventions were treated like real human beings. He had a flying robot, for example, which was obsessively in love with him, and flied around with a movie screen on its forehead, which demonstrated all of its emotions. It got hit with a baseball bat in one of the climax scenes, and when Williams discovered it, it died, and he bursted into tears.

What type of trash is this, anyway? I have seen several movie reviews of "Flubber" recently, and, although they are generally bad, critics just go too easy on the film. With "Flubber," the worst remake in history, we as movie critics need to take the gloves off.


1998, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org. Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
 
 
           
     
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