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Still shot from the movie: The Absent-minded Professor.

The Absent-minded Professor

An absentminded professor forgets his own wedding while working on a scientific breakthrough. Although his invention doesn't seem to be enough to gain forgiveness from his fiancee, it has the US military, the hometown basketball team, and a local wheeler-dealer bouncing with excitement in this 1961 comedic tale. Get the movie review and more. »


Overall: B
Violence: B
Sexual Content: A-
Language: A
Drugs/Alcohol: A
Run Time: 96
Theater Release:
Video Release:
MPAA Rating: G
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What film features a lab accident gone right, and basketball stars that owe everything to their super-powered shoes? If you're thinking it must be a cross between The Powerpuff Girls, and Like Mike, then you are not looking back far enough.

In a 1961 movie, an Absent-minded Professor (Fred McMurray) is so intent on his physical science experiment that he misses his own wedding -- three times! While his disappointed fiancee Betsy Carlisle (Nancy Olsen) declares he has struck out, the befuddled Brainard believes "third time is the charm." Thanks to an explosive development in his garage-turned-laboratory, the academic discovers Flubber: a flying rubber like substance.

Unfortunately, the lovely Miss Carlisle neither appreciates the brilliance of his invention, nor the idea of being the second love of his life. To make her point perfectly clear, the woman scored rebounds into the arms of a former suitor. Suddenly sensing the green-eyed monster, the jealous Brainard decides Flubber is the best way to win back her affection.

A little of the gravity-defying substance applied to the basketball teams' sneakers soon has the game bouncing off the walls. Some clever alterations to an old Model-T adds a new spin to the phrase, "Can I give you a lift?" But instead of causing the woman of his dreams to swoon, the stunts attract the interest of an unscrupulous businessman and the US military.

Typical of the Disney fare of this era, The Absent-minded Professor sports a familiar cast playing the usual characters, including bumbling police officers, a scholastically under-achieving basketball jock, and a wealthy citizen who is really a sleazy hustler. Although they are played innocently enough, the portrayal of a dishonest father (with a taste for gambling) encouraging his son to follow his example, the hero resorting to revengeful tactics, over-reactive security personnel, and a group of thugs with a gun, may be of concern to some parents.

Yet the slapstick antics and the predictable plot provide the catchy chemistry that became a mouse house trademark. And if something works once, it's worth trying again... which may be why movie history repeats itself.

The Absent-minded Professor is rated G:

Cast: Fred McMurray, Nancey Olsen

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About the Reviewer: Donna Gustafson

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