It’s hard to know what to expect from a film called A Street Cat Named Bob – assuming you’ve not read the book. The trailers imply it’s a film that’s going to explore the nature of addiction, as well as the hardships of living rough on the streets. Altogether, a ‘feely’ human interest story, right?
Wrong. Unfortunately, Bob lacks both the humanity and the interest to call it anything other than a fluffy story about a busker and his cat, nothing other than a ‘woe is me’ tale of a drug addict who happened to be offered a second chance – with a few cat puns thrown in.
Such a story needs a sympathetic lead, but unfortunately Luke Treadaway fails to pull this off. He’s amiable enough – and actually his busking isn’t half bad – but he still fails to invoke any empathy from his audience. With a lack of character depth and context across the board, you are never fully enabled to understand and engage in the journey to recovery, and in a film such as this it’s all about the journey, not the destination.
The one impressive turn in Bob happens to be Bob the Cat himself; they say to never work with live animals, but this happens to be the one well executed facet of the entire film. There’s a lot to enjoy here if you’re a die-hard cat lover, but unfortunately everybody else will likely be left out in the cold.
Some sensitive issues are poked at, but Spottiswoode lacks the courage to really make any statements on these, leaving the film ultimately directionless. But, if nothing else, this is a cute story about a man and his cat – if you’re into that sort of thing.
CAST: Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas, Joanne Froggatt
DIRECTOR: Roger Spottiswoode
WRITER: Tim John, Maria Nation
SYNOPSIS: The true story of how James Bowen, a busker and recovering drug addict, had his life transformed when he met a stray ginger cat.