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FLUBBER

SYNOPSIS:
Professor Phillip Brainard (Robin Williams) is an absent-minded chemistry teacher, who is working with his flying robot assistant, Weebo, on an idea for a substance that’s not only a revolutionary new source of energy, but may also be the salvation of his financially troubled Medfield College, where his fiance, Sara (Maria Gay Harden), is president. So forgetful that he has forgotton to show up to his own wedding twice, Phillip successfully creates a miraculous goo that when applied to any object - cars, bowling balls, even people - enables them to fly through the air at remarkable speeds. It defies gravity, looks like rubber, and is called Flubber….

"Flubber is a lightweight fantasy with bounce, bringing to the screen lime-green goo with attitude. Things have changed considerably since The Absentminded Professor charmed us in the 60s. Hi-tech is here, with the relationship between Phillip and his live-in, adorable female talking-computer-companion, Weebo, being the main object of our emotional interest. But this is no ordinary computer. No indeed. Weebo is a flying saucer-like computer with jealous tendencies, who collects old movie clips and images, and plays them at appropriate times, to express emotions. But most importantly, Weebo has more than a computer chip for a brain, Weebo has a heart. At the heart of Flubber’s appeal, is the indefatigable Robin Williams, who delights as the eccentric chemistry teacher with integrity. The animation and effects are mostly bewitching: I especially like the fantasy scene from Hollywood productions, when figures made of green Flubber perform a routine on a staircase of National Geographics. The script has a few flaws, but it’s a feel-good kinda film, that offers good humour and laughs with slapstick, farce and good old fashioned family fun. Charming support from Maria Gay Harden as Sara, the patient, forgiving fiancee, who is thoroughly overshadowed by the scene-stealing Weebo, who like the foldable, stretchable, mouldable, gullible, ticklish, responsive green goo itself, is sure to be on every child’s Christmas list."
Louise Keller

"There's no such thing as originality in Hollywood, it seems. The folks at that Wonderful World of Disney believe that to succeed in this modern cinematic world, drag out some of your old classics and remake them. None have matched the pure whimsy of the originals, and Flubber, predictably, follows that tradition. Based on 1961's charming Absent Minded Professor, Flubber is everything the original is not. To begin with, Fred MacMurray, did such a wonderfully subtle job at conveying this professor's good-natured absent-mindedness. So when the new folk at Disney were looking for an admirable successor, who did they turn to? The king of unsubtlety himself, Robin Williams, playing the role with such obvious leaden buffoonery, that any semblance of character has disappeared. He gives a one-note performance, a kind of routine schtick that we've seen from Williams so many times before, and by now, it's boring and predictable. But Williams is not the sole problem. Co-writer and producer John Hughes must have been beaten up a lot as a kid, for in every film he touches (he's the guy who brought us the regrettable Home Alone movies), there are fists, flying balls, physical comedy that is ridiculously repetitive. Hughes writes the same stuff, just with different characters, all seriously under-developed. Give it up John! Lifelessly directed by Les Mayfield (who made the awful Encino Man), the film lacks any genuine wit or charm, but more a series of clumsy vignettes. The flubber itself has now taken on a life of its own, for no other reason than to attract clever merchandising, and there's this awfully cute robot designed for the same purpose no doubt. While kids may enjoy it, adults will wish for the good old days when a classic was a classic for a damn good reason. This flatulent, flimsy, flighty, flippant, flubbery flick is, well, a bore."
Paul Fischer

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FLUBBER (G)
(US)

 

CAST: Robin Williams, Marcia Gay Harden, Christopher McDonald, Raymond Barry, Clancy Brown, Ted Levine, Wil Wheaton, Edie McClurg, Jodi Benson, Scott Martin Gershin, Julie Morrison

PRODUCERS: John Hughes, Ricardo Mestres

DIRECTOR: Les Mayfield

SCRIPT: John Hughes, Bill Walsh

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Dean Cundey

EDITOR: Harvey Rodenstock, Michael A. Stevenson

MUSIC: Danny Elfman

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Andrew McAlpine

RUNNING TIME: 93 minutes

 

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 1997







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