Making the Grades
One name should warn you that this remake of the venerable Absent Minded Professor has undergone major changes: John Hughes. The creator of the Home Alone series (and other infamous punch fests), Hughes has co-written this attempt to bring Robin Williams into the role of Professor Brainard -- a man who saves his job, marriage, and career with a substance he calls flubber. Flubber is better than ever thanks to 1990's movie making technology. Not only does it bounce and multiply energy, it's also capable of breaking into a full blown dance production number.
In a home that looks like a garage sale gone bad, Brainard's simple existence is shared with two robots. One cleans dutifully while the other, called Weebo, floats in the air and with a soft female voice offers Brainard advice with his schedule, experiments, and love life. Amazingly, Brainard does have a real girlfriend, Sara Jean (Marcia Gay Harden), who is the dean of the college where he works. Even more amazing is that Sara still loves Brainard even though he has forgotten their wedding date on two previous attempts. Now he is about to miss the third.
If you are asking yourself how someone smart enough to invent a substance that can multiply energy can't remember his own wedding day, then this movie isn't your genre. Flubber is squarely aimed at the under-13 crowd, with lots of silly animated sequences to fill the time. Hughes gets his trademark pair of idiot crooks into the script, who are stupid enough to get hit in the head with a bowling ball umpteen times. As I say with every Hughes movie, cartoon violence translated to real life becomes a serious problem, leaving too many children with the impression that knocking someone on the head only leaves a lump and a headache.