Bill Murray finds a real showcase for his oft-shackled talent in this manic comedy. Originally discussed as a pairing of Murray and Woody Allen, pic ended up with Richard Dreyfuss in the role of the tightly wound, egotistical psychiatrist whose life is disrupted by ‘multiphobic’ new patient Bob Wiley (Murray), the human equivalent of gum on the bottom of one’s shoe.
Dreyfuss’ Dr Leo Marvin gets irked when the persistent patient follows him to a rustic New Hampshire retreat, then grows increasingly outraged as Bob proceeds to win over his family. He helps the doc’s death-obsessed son (Charlie Korsmo, kid in Dick Tracy) to learn to enjoy life and shows compassion to his daughter (Kathryn Erbe) and unappreciated wife (Julie Hagerty).
Murray has a field day with the character, which allows him to act like a little kid while occasionally lapsing into other aspects from his Saturday Night Life days, from his smarmy lounge singer to the nerd. Dreyfuss generally reprises the role he played in Down and Out in Beverly Hills: domineering, nouveau riche family man whose stolid existence is turned upside down by unwelcome intruder.