(Les Mayfield, USA, 1997)


There is a woolly high-concept at the core of this old-fashioned confection for kids.

Flubber stands for flexible rubber, a green substance cooked up by an absent-minded scientist (Robin Williams). Sometimes this goop sits in a jar and is spread on hands, shoes, footballs or any other surface that requires a little extra bounce.

But, at other times, this flubber stuff seems to take on a life of its own. It plays cheeky games, mimics its master, or multiplies itself in order to perform a Busby Berkeley dance routine. Afterwards, it’s just goop again.

So is flubber an inert substance or – as they would ask on Star Trek – a sentient being?

This mildly diverting but entirely forgettable entertainment is simply not interested in answering the question. Mainly, the green slime provides a handy way for cars and basketball players to fly. This provides a few spectacular laughs, but the joke is soon done to death.

Apart from the flubber, the film boasts Williams delivering his usual, tiresome ham antics; a hyperactive Latin-flavoured score by Danny Elfman; and yet another round of Three Stooges-type violent pratfalls visited upon the dumb crooks of the piece, reprised from writer-producer John Hughes’s Home Alone movies.

© Adrian Martin December 1997

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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