Dances With Films 2015: ‘SuperBob’ - Film Review

For pretty much anyone who’s reading this, chances are, at some point in your life, you’ve wanted to be a superhero. Having superhuman powers would be amazing, of course, but the appeal is more than that. It’s the confidence they project, the respect they command, and the unflappable nobility that they exude that makes superheroes so cool, and that makes us long to be them.

So, what if you did get superpowers? All of a sudden, right now, you’re hit by a meteor and have it all: super strength; flight; laser vision; the whole package. Would the confidence, respect, nobility, etc. just sort of come on their own? What kind of person would you be apart from the heroics? Those are the questions at the core of SuperBob, which screened at Dances With Films this week.

Robert Kenner, a.k.a. SuperBob (Brett Goldstein), was hit by a meteor six years ago and now has superpowers. He’s beloved by the people of England (where he lives and works) and strives to keep them safe—except on Tuesday, which is his day off. Rather than considering himself a superhero, though, he’s more of a civil servant. He answers to a team of higher ups who tell him where he needs to go and whom he needs to save, and generally keep an eye on him.

Today, though, is Bob’s day. It’s Tuesday, and instead of saving England from certain doom, he’s going on a date—his first since the accident that gave him his powers. June (Laura Haddock) is a librarian on whom Bob has harbored a crush for months, and who finally asked him out, rather than continue waiting around for him to make the first move. Yes, despite his fabulous powers and incredible notoriety, SuperBob is painfully shy and terribly awkward.

Meanwhile, the crass and power-hungry Americans are trying to get Bob classified as a weapon and, of course, turned over to them. SuperBob’s handler, Theresa (Catherine Tate), wants to cancel Bob’s day off AND his date in order to try to make peace with a visiting senator. Will Bob save the world, or save his own social life?

I really identified with Bob all the way through this film. He’s realistically shy and awkward, rather than buffoonishly over-the-top. Or maybe my own shy awkwardness is buffoonishly over-the-top. Either way, I saw a lot of myself in Bob. Goldstein plays the role perfectly and has us rooting for him right from the start.

The film takes a little time to warm up, but once it does, it’s very funny, very sweet, and tremendously fun to watch. Catherine Tate is perfect as the no-nonsense government bureaucrat, trying to keep things under control. Natalie Tena is also great as Dorris, Bob’s cleaning woman and reality check when he needs it—the only person who doesn’t either fawn all over him or want something from him.

If you’ve ever been an ordinary person, maybe a little shy and awkward, who dreamed of being a superhero, then SuperBob is for you.

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