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dir Jon Drever
scr Brett Goldstein, William Bridges
prd Jon Drever, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Robert Jones
with Brett Goldstein, Catherine Tate, Natalia Tena, Laura Haddock, Ruth Sheen, David Harewood, Ricky Grover, Christian Contreras, Aleksy Komorowski, Matthew Steer, Adrian Palmer, Jon Drever
release UK 16.Oct.15
Save the day: Goldstein
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
Filmmaker Drever makes the most of a low budget in this quietly hilarious British superhero comedy. Instead of focussing on action, the film explores the life of a normal guy who acquires superpowers then struggles to balance his new responsibilities with his daily life. The deadpan approach may throw some viewers, but it's packed with wicked gags.
After being hit by a meteor, superpowered South Londoner Bob (Goldstein) is drafted by Ministry of Defence boss Theresa (Tate) to protect the nation. But this makes having a normal life rather difficult, even with help from his loyal Colombian cleaner Dorris (Tena) and minder Barry (Grover). With his senile mother (Sheen) in a nursing home, he's preparing to date cute local librarian June (Haddock). But he's constantly interrupted by Theresa and a series of emergencies, plus a group of Americans who are annoyed that the UK isn't using Bob to his full military potential.
With simple but effective effects, Drever depicts superhero action with wit and a fleet-footed energy lacking in the usual bloated blockbusters. And at its centre, Goldstein is superbly disarming, an almost painfully normal guy famous for something that accidentally thrust him into the limelight. He clearly never had much of a personal life beforehand, so he's still struggling on that front. And saving the planet is little more than a job with shifts and not nearly enough time off. He may look hot in his uniform, but in plain clothes he gets no respect at all.
The supporting cast is terrific, making the most of the wry dialog, constant visual gags and character-based humour. But they also add some serious edge to every scene. Tate dryly chomps on the scenery as the perpetually perturbed official, Tena adds some spiky energy as the immigrant housekeeper with more depth than anyone expects, and Haddock provides some hilariously doe-eyed charm as an adorable woman who falls for the dorky Bob.
The film is a riot of amusing details, such as the "top secret" files that litter Bob's home, the bureaucratic paperwork that makes being rescued by a superhero a nightmare, and Bob's sideline singing (badly) in a local church choir. Then in Bob's loneliness and desire to regain control of his life, the film finds a warmth that wins over the audience completely. This is a rare film that manages to create a cool but insecure and self-deprecating hero we can't help but root for. And wish he was our friend.
|R E A D E R R E V I E W S|
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© 2015 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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