"An adorable and funny dumbass superhero.”
A superhero is having trouble getting a girl in SuperBob, a hilarious superhero film from British director and co-writer Jon Drever. Adapted from Drever’s 2009 short film of the same title, this mockumentary-styled rom-com takes us to the bland side of being a superhero, its pros and cons (mostly cons), and the balance that must be achieved by being both normal and extraordinary.
Robert Kenner (Brett Goldstein) is just a regular working-age guy, not until he is struck by a meteor which gives him superpowers like the ability to fly, laser visions, and super strength. From being a mere mailman living alone at his flat in Peckham, London, he becomes a government-sanctioned caped public officer named SuperBob. Through his Ministry of Defense handler, Theresa (Catherine Tate), SuperBob undertakes mission for the British government.
However, Bob’s romantic life is not as exciting as his public face. After not having dated anyone in six years, he has finally found his prospect in June (Laura Haddock), a sexy and sassy local librarian. So he arranges a date on his day off and seeks grooming tips and love advice from his Colombian cleaner Dorris (Natalia Tena) but not from his overly sentimental mother Pat (Ruth Sheen). Unfortunately, complications happen as Theresa unexpectedly calls Bob for an international affair and our hero feels the need to sort out his priorities and sentiments.
SuperBob initially appears as confused as its titular hero. Opening with some kind of a news flash, the film proceeds with a documentary about Bob, then it evolves into a rom-com as he figures out his feeling for two women, and finally to a climactic action drama. The tonal shift is not fluid and graceful, giving audience a jagged sense of discomfort. For a superhero movie, it is also quite very talky and lacks a true sense of tension. Almost devoid of elaborate action sequences, the film only becomes tight and suspenseful towards the end when SuperBob needs to make a life-changing decision.
However, the film remains watchable and engaging. It is a silly comedy whose humor is light and dry but very effective. It offers a refreshing take on an overly exploited genre. Most of all, the film succeeds in creating an immensely winning character whose experiences reflect our own (or our neighbors). Bob is well-crafted that viewers are mesmerized with him despite his nonchalant manner of speaking, brutally honest or double-edged speeches, dumbassness, clumsiness and timid ways. In his very core, Bob is a sweet gentle person who is aching for that one great love. Other than offering romantic thrills, the film also re-enacts some silly moments in the world of politics.
Goldstein is a very likable lead as he rightfully delivers the funny moroseness and sweet innocence of Bob. Tena wonderfully compliments her as her abrasiveness and directness perfectly matches the good boy’s qualities of Bob. Tate and Sheen also provide solid entertaining support for them.
Despite problems with its narrative and storytelling, SuperBob is a highly-pleasing and wonderfully-entertaining superhero rom-com. It is a light and funny popcorn movie.
Production companies: The Fyzz Facility Film Five, Grain Media, Jonescompany Productions
Cast: Brett Goldstein, Natalia Tena, Laura Haddock, Ruth Sheen, David Harewood, Catherine Tate
Director: Jon Drever
Screenwriters: William Bridges, Jon Drever, Brett Goldstein
Producers: Emily Corcoran, Jon Drever, David Gilbery, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Kevin Harvey, Robert Jones, Ben Kaye, Arnaud Lannic, Christophe Lannic, Paz Parasmand, Nick Quested, Jason Sender, Patrick Vernon, Orlando von Einsiedel
Director of photography: Mattias Nyberg
Production designer: Janice Flint
Costume designer: Lindsay Pugh
Editor: Katie Bryer
Music: Rupert Christie