Flubber [1997]

Director: Dean Cundey, Les Mayfield
Stars: Robin Williams, Marcia Gay Harden, Clancy Brown, Scott Michael Campbell, Raymond J. Barry
Genre: Comedy, Family, Sci-Fi
Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 94 minutes

Disney couldn't resist the temptation to remake 1961's popular comedy The Absent Minded Professor, so they cast Robin Williams as Professor Philip Brainard (a role vaguely related to the character originated by Fred MacMurray), and the result is a comedy that, frankly, doesn't fully deserve its modest success. It's admittedly clever to a point, and certainly the digitally "flubberized" special effects provide the kind of movie magic that's entertaining for kids and parents alike. The professor can't even remember his own wedding day (much to the chagrin of his fiancée, played by Marcia Gay Harden), and now his academic rival (Christopher McDonald) is trying to steal his latest and purely accidental invention--flying rubber, or ... flubber. The green goo magnifies energy and can be used as an amazing source of power, but in the hands of screenwriter John Hughes it becomes just another excuse to recycle a lot of Home Alone-style slapstick humor involving a pair of bumbling would-be flubber thieves. There's also a floating robot named Weebo and some catchy music by Danny Elfman to accompany dancing globs of flubber, but the story's too thin to add up to anything special. Lightweight fun, but, given the title, it lacks a certain bounce. Of course, that didn't stop Disney's marketing wizards from turning it into a home-video hit. --Jeff Shannon

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