Bob Funk is a curious little movie. Based on the long-running play of the same name, by Craig Carlisle [who adapted and directed the movie], Bob Funk is the story of an alcoholic, the titular Bob Funk [Michael Leyden Campbell], who has so totally ruined his life that he is fired from his job as Vice-President of Funk Futons by. his. mother [Grace Zabriskie]!
Why? Besides leaving vital paperwork unfilled on a regular; besides the always coming in late – and usually spattered with coffee [he manages to bump onto the same woman every day, spilling his coffee]; besides his utter lack of people skills, his behavior puts the company in double jeopardy by missing a deadline with some paperwork necessary to keeping Funk Futons from being stripped of its business licence and by harassing a new employee, opening the company up to a sexual harassment lawsuit. [It’s when Bob fails to accept responsibility for the harassment that Mom fires him.
Although filmed with the rhythms of a romantic comedy, Bob Funk is as much a drama about an addict going through the recovery process as it is about romance, or comedy. The woman Bob harasses, Sylvia Thorne [Rachel Leigh Cook], is a definite romantic comedy lead – she’s bright and beautiful and a klutz [when she drops her phone, for example, it breaks into two pieces]. And it is she who becomes Bob’s supervisor when he begs for another chance – which doesn’t play out as he’d hoped. Finally, he’s demoted to janitor and begins to [finally] take a little pride in his work.
Most of the comedy is generated by Cook and Stephen Root [Office Space, NewsRadio], who plays a Funk futons employee who’s gotten a part in a play and lets that take over his life. The drama, of course, is generated by Bob’ journey back to respectability and, hopefully, to a different kind of relationship with Sylvia than the one he began with.
Although Bob Funk is a weird combination of jarring genres, the performances somehow enable the film to coalesce into an involving whole. The script transitions from comedy to drama – and vice-versa – are frequently less than smooth, but the film surmounts that problem through the characters. The result, while uneven, is oddly fascinating – so even though the movie’s romance and comedy don’t really kick in until late in the third act, Bob Funk skates by, powered by Cook’s earnestness as Sylvia; Campbell’s hesitance as Bob realizes what an ass he’s been, and Zabriskie’s non-nonsense matriarch.
Considering the peculiar melding of genres, it strikes me as odd that there are no features. Bob Funk is a film that deserves a commentary. Ah, well…
Final Grade: B-
Eclipse Review by Sheldon Wiebe
Posted on June 30, 2009
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