Bob’s Birthday is a 1993 animated short film that is a rare instance of an animated sitcom short which is executed wonderfully. It also received an Oscar which was well deserved.
It is about Bob, a 40-year-old dentist who struggles with his middle-age issues while his wife Margaret plans a birthday surprise for him. When he comes home, while their friends are hiding, hilarity ensues as he starts talking badly about them and the two also fight. Its plot is simply put ingenious. So well constructed and executed. I appreciate it not only for its humor which is fantastic, super funny and clever, but also for its themes as it is very smart and so relatable. It explores the middle-age problems beautifully with the dissatisfaction with work and friends, but still leaving a somewhat potentially happy ending as at least the two love each other. The plot and the characters drive this authentic sitcom film.
Yes, the characters are superb. Bob is relatable, very grounded in his depiction and likable. And Margaret is also sympathetic and you feel for her when everything goes wrong. The two have a great relationship and are so relatable.
This is one of the rare instances of an animated short film that is driven more by its plot and characters than animation. It is the weakest link here. Maybe it was the purpose here, but it is cheap-looking for its time and the character design is too cartoony which doesn’t mash well with its mature tone. It is an adult film which I highly appreciated, so sophisticated and relevant. It is also well acted and directed, although a bit weirdly paced. But it has just the right amount of running time, clocking in at around ten minutes and it is endlessly entertaining while also being inherently charming.
Bob’s Birthday may have weaker animation, but the characters are so grounded and relatable, the humor is splendid and its sitcom story with the hilarious scenario and sophisticated themes is wonderfully executed and very mature and relevant.