Sunday, 13 November 2016

A Street Cat Named Bob (2016)

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Not really Purr-fect

Director: Roger Spottiswoode
Running Time: 103 Minutes
Starring: Luke Treadaway, Bob the Cat, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt, Anthony Stewart Head

Based on the autobiographical tale with the same name, Roger Spottiswoode's drama tells the story of James Bowen (Luke Treadaway). Homeless and a recovering drug addict, James is given a last chance to turn his life around, when support worker Val (Joanne Froggatt) gives him a flat of his own. He attempts to support himself through busking, but struggles to gain any traction. Upon meeting a stray ginger cat he later names Bob, their lives become intertwined.

There's no doubt the drama is well natured, bringing to light the saddening realities faced by those who find themselves homeless. Yet what's unfortunate is its handling of the emotional attempts, which comes off as rather syrupy. This can be put down to script issues, as the hackneyed writing takes scenes to some pretty convoluted places. One such scene involving a mother who wishes to buy Bob begins predictably, before veering off into ridiculous territory. It's bizarre moments like this which give off the feel of a made for TV film, and the ridiculous camera shots from Bob's perspective don't help things.

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The chemistry between lead actor Luke Treadaway and Bob the cat ,who plays himself, proves effortlessly charming. The same can't be said of scenes shared between our human lead and Ruta Gedmintas, who's trapped in the thankless role of his bland love interest. In this instance, Joanne Froggatt shines better as Bowen's support worker.

A Street Cat Named Bob has its heart in the right place, casting a sympathetic and truthful light on the realities of those who are homeless. Shame the heavy handed attempts at emotion and many an absurd scene brings the picture down. These moments threaten to leave things as fun as coughing up a hairball.

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