Absurdity and verisimilitude underpin Neus Ballús’ slice of life comedy following three repairmen on a week of assignments across Barcelona. These run the gamut from mundane to just strange enough to be entirely believable. Pep (Pep Sarrà) runs the small plumbing, electrical, and handyman firm, and he is about to hand over the reins to his younger partner Valero (Valero Escolar). When Moha (Mohamed Mellali) – a Moroccan immigrant learning Spanish at evening classes – joins the team, there is a wariness: Valero does not know if he can trust a new person as he takes on more responsibility. But this interpersonal uncertainty must gel quickly, as the people – not the plumbing or picture-hanging – prove the most bizarre and gently challenging parts of their day-to-day jobs.

The Odd-Job Men is a warmhearted look at three men in very different stages of life. Surprisingly gentle, but not without bite, its observational comedy comes from the little learnings they pick up about each other (and just as often, the little misunderstandings that cause very fixable chaos). What emerges is a complex character study of growing up, growing old, and assimilating into a new culture. Valero in particular fights against both his prejudices and a fragile masculinity, as Moha proves himself invaluable. The film treats both with a firm sweetness, realising that personal growth and self-awareness, like blocked pipes, cannot be forced. 

The film unfolds in sequential vignettes that take place over one week (most clearly marked by Moha’s language classes and upcoming examination). However, the space travelled, homes visited, and delightful randomness of the tasks at hand impart a greater expanse: there is nothing ordinary about these lives. 

Funny and surprisingly tender, The Odd-Job Men finds new meaning in getting the job done – and no language barrier, over-confident client, or mechanical failing will interfere.



CAST: Pep Sarrà, Valero Escolar, Mohamed Mellali

DIRECTOR: Neus Ballús

WRITERS: Neus Ballús, Margarita Melgar

SYNOPSIS: A week in the life of three handymen in Barcelona as they deal with their own personal and professional crises.