YMMV / What About Bob?

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: The story could easily be seen as Bob the Jerkass tormenting the stressed-out Dr. Marvin while everyone is too stupid to realize Bob is actually not as wonderful as they say he is. On the other hand, Dr. Marvin has legitimately pissed off a lot of people and screwed up his own family well before Bob ever showed up, and Bob is clearly a pretty nice and well-meaning guy underneath his mental issues.
    • Most fans seem to view Leo's family as dysfunctional, but much of the tension therein is relatively healthy. It's true that neither of the children trust their father, for instance, but their rebellion is quite understandable with regard to their age; Ana is creating emotional distance as to prepare herself for adulthood, while Sigmund is approaching adolescence with a typical amount of skepticism and anxiety. Leo and Fey, meanwhile, seem to be happily married, and the family shows definite concern for one another in moments of crisis. Arguably, the family's dysfunction is much more situational than default: when Bob enters the picture, Leo's obsessive protectiveness becomes quite apparent, and creates a sudden rift between himself and his loved ones.
      • Except there has clearly been much more distance for some time. Siggy seems to be carrying a grudge from the previous times his father has tried to force his own likes on him (such as diving). Ana seems to object to her father over-analyzing things and causing the same behavior in herself.
  • Fridge Brilliance: You may wonder why Leo doesn't just call the cops on Bob or file a lawsuit against him - until you realize that Leo is so concerned about not looking like the bad guy to his family, who already have significant problems with him and are conversely enjoying Bob's company, that he's effectively prevented from doing anything like that.
  • Informed Wrongness: Dr. Leo Marvin may not be the nicest man, but it is his house, his family and his vacation, and Bob, intentionally or not, is invading his privacy. He's not exactly wrong to be annoyed about Bob forcing his way into his private life.
    • We're supposed to think that Dr. Leo telling his family to stay away from Bob is just Leo being a jerk, but think about all Bob did to reach him. Bob is a patient with multiple mental issues who repetitively lied and manipulated people to get to Leo, up to faking his own death and impersonating an officer of the law to get Leo's location (both of these things are illegal) all because Leo wasn't available to see him. This is a stalking level of obsession, and can be very scary. This recut trailer does a very good job of framing the film this way.
    • Leo is also absolutely correct in stating that the lengths Bob goes to contact him is an amazing violation or the doctor-patient relationship.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Dr. Marvin may be an obnoxious Jerkass, but one can't help but feel sorry for him considering everything he suffers at Bob's hands over the course of the story.
    • If you go for Alternate Character Interpretation, Bob applies as well. He is obnoxious enough to drive you straight to the looney bin, but Heaven only knows what he has suffered in life to become as much of a basket case as he was at the beginning of the film (one detail that is mentioned is that his wife left him, but the film doesn't says if she left him because he was losing it or if he lost it because she left). Given all of his conditions, it was likely a little of both.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Whether or not the Alternate Character Interpretation applies, you have to admit that the way Bob figured out the location of Leo's vacation home is pretty damn clever. Bob fakes his own death and goes to the phone company posing as a detective investigating the matter, where he convinces the operator to tell him Leo's address by claiming that he would need it for postage. Heck, if Alternate Character Interpretation does apply, he's even more of a Magnificent Bastard since, according to said interpretation, he played the entire cast of the film like a fiddle.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Leo crosses it when he tries to kill Bob by blowing him up. It's Played for Laughs, but he was being serious.
  • The Woobie: Bob. Honestly, he doesn't necessarily mean to drive other people crazy because of his craziness. And you have to wonder what happened to the poor guy to make him so unbalanced and phobic in the first place.