Flubber (1997) – Review

2 Stars

Robin Williams’ career circa 1997 is an astonishing thing to behold. The respected comedian appeared in four movies over the course of that year. He missed with the atrocious box-office bomb Father’s Day, scored with the critical community with the one-two punch of Good Will Hunting and Deconstructing Harry, but his biggest financial success was the thanksgiving timed release of Flubber. The glossy remake of the 1964 Fred McMurray family comedy is a special-effects-laden picture with small glimpses into the manic Williams persona which served him so well in Disney’s own Aladdin just a few years prior.

Professor Phillip Brainard (Williams) is absent-minded and socially awkward. He’s also a brilliant inventor who’s on the brink of creating a new form of energy. All of his hard work in the lab is paying off, but his relationship with fiancee Dr. Sara Jean Reynolds (Marcia Gay Harden) is falling apart. When Phillip misses his wedding date for the third time Sara rightfully leaves him. However, Professor Brainard has developed a fusion of energy and elasticity nicknamed ‘Flubber’ for flying rubber. The mysterious substance becomes a sought-after commodity when the evil financier of Brainard’s college tries to blackmail the scientist into giving over ownership.

Flubber isn’t working with sacred material in the first place, but the original wasn’t this stupify of an experience. This is a marginally better picture than the insulting Disney release Mr. Magoo, but it’s nowhere in the same league nor as polished and refined as the live-action 101 Dalmatians remake. Flubber is a perfectly mediocre family movie with a John Hughes script hampered by his late career tendency to add bumbling crooks to every one of his stories.

Director: Les Mayfield
Stars: Robin Williams, Marcia Gay Harden, Christopher McDonald

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