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What's Up, Doc? (1972)



Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 38
Fresh: 34 | Rotten: 4

Barbra Streisand was never more likable than in this energetic, often hilarious screwball farce from director Peter Bogdanovich.


Average Rating: 6.6/10
Critic Reviews: 6
Fresh: 4 | Rotten: 2

Barbra Streisand was never more likable than in this energetic, often hilarious screwball farce from director Peter Bogdanovich.



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 9,681

My Rating

Movie Info

With Howard Hawks's Bringing Up Baby (1938) as his blueprint, Peter Bogdanovich resurrected and payed homage to 1930s screwball comedy in What's Up, Doc? (1972). When wacky co-ed Judy Maxwell (Barbra Streisand, in the Katharine Hepburn part) spies nebbishy musicologist Howard Bannister (Ryan O'Neal in bespectacled Cary Grant mode) in a San Francisco hotel lobby, she decides that Howard and his precious igneous rocks are right up her alley. Too bad Howard already has a fiancée, the


Romance, Classics, Comedy

Peter Bogdanovich, Buck Henry, Robert Benton

Jul 1, 2003

Warner Bros. Pictures

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All Critics (38) | Top Critics (6) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (4) | DVD (7)

The result is a comedy made by a man who has seen a lot of movies, knows all the mechanics, and has absolutely no sense of humor.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

This picture is a total smash.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

A homage to Hollywood screwball comedy that by and large gets its pace and cartoon/slapstick timings right.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The strength of a movie like this, of course, is that you don't have to believe too much for too long, because there's something else happening.

October 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Not the least of Bogdanovich's triumphs is his success in scaling down Miss Streisand's superstar personality to fit the dimensions of farce.

May 20, 2003 Full Review Source: New York Times
New York Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The busy script by Buck Henry, Robert Benton, and David Newman keeps things moving, but the spirit of pastiche keeps this romp from truly rivaling its sources.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

[VIDEO ESSAY] Barbara Streisand takes over the feminine human incarnation of Bugs Bunny's free-spirited cartoon character in Peter Bogdanovich's enthusiastic homage to the screwball comedy.

February 25, 2014 Full Review Source:

[A] hilarious homage to the screwball comedies of the 1930s by Howard Hawks and Preston Sturges.

February 10, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

A lot of fun for the whole family.

December 29, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

No one is going to match Grant and Hepburn, but Ryan O'Neal and Barbra Streisand give it the ol' college try in the criminally entertaining What's Up, Doc? [Blu-ray]

August 9, 2010 Full Review Source: Groucho Reviews
Groucho Reviews

It's never quite as tight or fierce as the original screwballers, but is fizzy and loveable and always worth watching.

February 2, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Bogdanovich has delivered a film with energy, wit, and a madcap pace that is well worth watching.

February 2, 2009 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

Never less than entertaining and is sometimes side-splittingly hilarious.

October 29, 2008 Full Review Source: Decent Films Guide
Decent Films Guide

Enjoyable thanks to the fine use of San Francisco locations and an agreeably nutty Barbra Streisand.

March 6, 2008 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

Hilarious live cartoon directed by Bogdanovich with sexy, silly turn by Streisand, and equally funny O'Neal and Kahn.

March 2, 2008

Energetic contemporary takeoff on the Hollywood screwball comedies of the 1930s.

February 13, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

a fun, nostalgic trip to the screwball comedy days of old Hollywood featuring Striesand at her most likable

October 1, 2005

90 easy minutes of big laughs

June 14, 2005 Full Review Source:

Not successful as a screwball update; it manages instead to create a considerable diversion despite itself.

June 4, 2004
F5 (Wichita, KS)

What's Up Doc? is hands down, Barbra Streisand's funniest movie, and one of the few that even non-Barbra Streisand fans (if there are any), can enjoy.

January 29, 2004 Full Review Source: Three Movie Buffs
Three Movie Buffs take the good with the bad, the funny moments with the long intervals of less inspired bits.

July 12, 2003 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

Memorable and very funny.

May 24, 2003 Full Review Source: Film4

Audience Reviews for What's Up, Doc?

"There's not much to see actually. We're inside a Chinese dragon."

Kinda like Bringing Up Baby meets one of those 70s's Alka Seltzer commercials - with Babs. A funny, silly movie.
July 23, 2007

Super Reviewer

Four suitcases, one with jewels, one with secret documents, one with rocks, and one with clothes, cause goofy characters to scramble for possession.
What's Up, Doc? is a fun light-hearted farce that succeeds because Barbara Streisand can be quite charming and Ryan O'Neal has a good, dry, stone-faced delivery. The final moment of the film -- "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard" -- is hilarious only for those who know O'Neal's career.
The film fails in other areas. Judy's motivations are mysterious; "You're cute" isn't enough justification for me. Likewise, all the other interesting parties flit and run around like idiots, but their motivations are never very clear.
Overall, as farces go, this one isn't bad, but ultimately, What's Up, Doc? is easily dismissed.
July 25, 2013
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

A kooky stranger in the shape of Barbra Streisand attaches herself to a stuffy music professor and through a series of coincidences become involved in a plot to steal a case of priceless jewels and some secret government files. What's Up Doc? is one of those kinds of comedies that busts a gut to be quirky and likeable, but in its attempt to emulate the effortlessly amusing "screwball" comedies of the 1940s it falls rather short. It actually seems rather more dated than the films it is clearly trying to copy (Bringing Up Baby being the most obvious influence) and the chemistry between a very lost looking Ryan O'Neill and Streisand is glaring in its absence; he just comes across as a joyless prig and her fascination with him is almost as bemusing as his seemingly instant change of heart where it comes to his romantic interest in her. The humour is in the usual formulaic farce of mistaken identities, pie-throwing and characters constantly running in and out of identical doors and it all seems rather tired and try-hard. Occasionally mildly amusing, but Neil Simon did this kind of thing with a lot more wit.
December 17, 2012
xGary Xx

Super Reviewer

Energetic screwball comedy that resurrect the genre from 30's hilarious pictures and pay a homage to Warner Bros. cartoons.
August 3, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

    1. Mr. Kaltenborn: I'm the manager of what's left of the hotel.
    – Submitted by Kevin C (21 months ago)
    1. Judge Maxwell: Aw! You made me smash my lifesavers!
    – Submitted by David E (2 years ago)
    1. Howard Bannister: What are you doing? This is a one way street!
    2. Judy Maxwell: We're only going one way.
    – Submitted by David E (2 years ago)
    1. Frederick Larrabee: I must point out to you that foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.
    – Submitted by David E (2 years ago)
    1. Judy Maxwell: I know I'm different, but from now on I'm going to try and be the same.
    2. Howard Bannister: The same as what?
    3. Judy Maxwell: The same as people who aren't different.
    – Submitted by David E (2 years ago)
    1. Judy Maxwell: But you know something Steve? Love means never having to say you're sorry.
    2. Howard Bannister: That's the dumbest thing I've ever heard.
    – Submitted by Mauricio R (3 years ago)
View all quotes (10)

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