Flubber (film)

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Flubber
Flubber.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLes Mayfield
Produced byJohn Hughes
Ricardo Mestres
Screenplay byBill Walsh (previous screenplay)
John Hughes
Based on"A Situation of Gravity" 
by Samuel W. Taylor
StarringRobin Williams
Marcia Gay Harden
Christopher McDonald
Ted Levine
Jodi Benson
Clancy Brown
Raymond J. Barry
Music byDanny Elfman
CinematographyDean Cundey
Edited byHarvey Rosenstock
Michael A. Stevenson
Production
  company
Walt Disney Pictures
Great Oaks
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date(s)
  • November 26, 1997 (1997-11-26)
Running time93 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$80 million
Box office$177,977,226
 
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Flubber
Flubber.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLes Mayfield
Produced byJohn Hughes
Ricardo Mestres
Screenplay byBill Walsh (previous screenplay)
John Hughes
Based on"A Situation of Gravity" 
by Samuel W. Taylor
StarringRobin Williams
Marcia Gay Harden
Christopher McDonald
Ted Levine
Jodi Benson
Clancy Brown
Raymond J. Barry
Music byDanny Elfman
CinematographyDean Cundey
Edited byHarvey Rosenstock
Michael A. Stevenson
Production
  company
Walt Disney Pictures
Great Oaks
Distributed byBuena Vista Pictures
Release date(s)
  • November 26, 1997 (1997-11-26)
Running time93 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$80 million
Box office$177,977,226

Flubber is a 1997 comedy film and a remake of The Absent-Minded Professor (1961), directed by Les Mayfield (who had previously directed another John Hughes scripted remake, Miracle on 34th Street). The film was produced by Walt Disney Pictures and stars Robin Williams, Marcia Gay Harden, Christopher McDonald, Ted Levine, Jodi Benson and Clancy Brown. Although the film was poorly reviewed, it did well at the box office, making more than double its budget.

Plot[edit]

Professor Philip Brainard (Robin Williams) of Medfield College is developing a new energy source, in an attempt to raise enough money to save the college from closure. His preoccupancy with his research distracts him from his fiancée and the college president Sara Jean Reynolds (Marcia Gay Harden); he has missed two weddings in the past as a result of this, much to the anger of Sara. On the day of the third attempted wedding, Philip is approached by his former partner Wilson Croft (Christopher McDonald), who has profited from ideas he has stolen from the chemist and now desires to steal Sara from Philip and make her his wife, which he declares directly to Philip. Before he can make it to the wedding, his latest experiment shows fast development, forcing him to miss another wedding. The resulting substance created from the experiment is a green goo that increases in speed as it bounces and proves to be difficult to control, wreaking havoc on the neighborhood before the professor finally manages to capture him. Weebo (voiced by Jodi Benson), Philip's hovering robot assistant, classifies the substance as "flying rubber", leading Philip to christen him as "Flubber".

Philip continues to work on Flubber into the early morning, looking to stabilize the rubber's movement as opposed to stimulation. Philip's watch alarm goes off at 6 a.m. (set wrong) and Weebo informs him that he has missed the third wedding. Philip goes to Sara's office and unsuccessfully attempts to explain the situation to her. Meanwhile, Medfield College sponsor Chester Hoenicker (Raymond J. Barry) is unhappy that Philip failed his son Bennett (Wil Wheaton) in chemistry class. That night, Hoenicker sends his two security guards Smith (Clancy Brown) and Wesson (Ted Levine) to Philip's house in an attempt to persuade Philip into giving Bennett a better grade. However, Philip is too busy testing the Flubber to even notice them and suddenly knocks them out unconscious with a Flubber-coated golf ball and bowling ball. He uses Flubber to give his vintage Ford Thunderbird flight. During a test run, he discovers Wilson making the moves on Sara. Afterwards, Weebo attempts to confess her love of Philip, only to be shrugged off as a computer. In response, she secretly creates a holographic human version of herself named Sylvia (Leslie Stefanson) in hopes of winning him over. Before Weebo can make out with Philip in this form as he sleeps, Philip awakens with another idea for Flubber. He enters an empty basketball arena and tests the effects of Flubber on a basketball. Later, he gives Flubber-padded shoes to the unskilled Medfield basketball team to increase their abilities.

Back in Philip's home, a spiteful Weebo unleashes Flubber from his case, allowing him to dance around the house and cause general mayhem. After the close but successful basketball game, Philip's attempt to win Sara back into his favor fails. Philip dumps all of his emotional baggage onto Weebo, saying his absent-mindedness is due to his love of Sara. Weebo records Philip's ramblings and shows the footage to Sara, who then reconciles with Philip. Philip demonstrates Flubber's abilities to Sara and they discuss how it can be used for profit. However, Hoenicker discovers Flubber's existence and sends Smith and Wesson to infiltrate Philip's house and steal Flubber. Weebo attempts to fend off the henchmen, only to be struck down by Wesson with a baseball bat. Philip and Sara return home and find Weber (Philip's house-robot) cleaning up, Flubber gone and Weebo destroyed. Later, Philip discovers that Weebo had downloaded back-up data of herself onto his computer in the event of her destruction, as well as a video recording of Weebo's hologram professing her love for him.

Philip and Sara confront Hoenicker and try to retrieve Flubber, only to discover that Wilson is allied with the millionaire. After a battle, Philip and Sara defeat Wilson, Bennett, Hoenicker and his henchmen, get Flubber back, raise enough money to save the college and finally have a successful marriage, along with Flubber and the "daughter" of Weebo, called Weebette. The film ends with the family heading to Hawaii in Philip's car.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

Filming began October 8, 1996 in San Francisco. Some scenes were filmed on campus at San Jose State University in Washington Square Hall during production in late 1996.[1]

Gag homages[edit]

Many gags are embellishments from the 1961 film, with John Hughes (Home Alone) rewriting the original Bill Walsh screenplay (based on Samuel W. Taylor's short story, A Situation of Gravity). Even though Walsh died in 1975, he received posthumous credit for this script.

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Flubber performed well at the box office. It made $92,977,226 in the United States and a total of $85 million in other countries for a total of $178 million internationally.[2]

Critical response[edit]

Despite its success, the film received largely negative reviews. The film holds a 23% approval rating at Rotten Tomatoes based on 31 reviews.[3] Metacritic gives the film a score of 37. The film was submitted for an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects, but did not get nominated.[4]

Video release history[edit]

Flubber was first released on VHS on April 21, 1998 and the DVD was released on June 16, 1998. It is also currently available on Amazon instant streaming and plans for a Blu-ray has not yet been announced.

References[edit]

External links[edit]