Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Bob Funk

A solid cast helps this quirky little comedy of existential angst.

March 20, 2009

-By Eric Monder


filmjournal/photos/stylus/75432-Bob_Funk_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Craig Carlisle’s first indie feature, Bob Funk, harkens back to the kind of movie more popular in the 1970s mainstream—aimless, oddball, and filled with great character actors. Though it never fully comes alive, Bob Funk possesses a quiet charm.

In Carlisle’s story, based on his play Bob Funk in Therapy, Bob Funk (Michael Leydon Campbell) has been living up (or is it down?) to his name. He has just been through a rocky divorce and is now drinking excessively and goofing off on the job—as the assistant to his own mother (Grace Zabriskie) at the Funk Foam and Futon Company.

Enter Miss Thorne (Rachael Leigh Cook), a beautiful but klutzy new executive at the firm. Bob tries aggressively to win her over, which causes his mother to fire him for sexual harassment. In order to rejoin the company (as a janitor!), Bob is forced to see a psychiatrist, report to his new boss (Miss Horne), and stop drinking. Will Bob make it and get out of his funk or go completely “under the volcano”?

Remember Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? or any ’70s film where the leading character ends up on a psychiatrist’s couch? For the most part, that is the kind of movie Bob Funk emulates. Aside from this plot device, Craig Carlisle’s film also boasts a flaky tone and pleasant spirit (more so than the recent Choke, which follows another unpleasant protagonist through a seriocomic adventure).

Had Carlisle found a more dynamic and charismatic leading man than Campbell, Bob Funk would have been much more arresting—which is too bad, because all the other casting is perfect. Zabriskie, currently seen on HBO’s “Big Love,” nearly steals the show as Funk’s domineering boss-mom. Amy Ryan ( Gone Baby Gone, “The Office”) shows a zesty side as a sharp-tongued barfly. Terri Mann is likeable as Bob’s therapist. And best of all, Cook shines as the clumsy but bright (and not ditzy) heroine. A throwback to the underrated Paula Prentiss, Cook exhibits real star quality.

The production credits are above average and the score includes a nice use of Duke Ellington standards. Bob Funk might just lift you out of a funk.


Film Review: Bob Funk

A solid cast helps this quirky little comedy of existential angst.

March 20, 2009

-By Eric Monder


filmjournal/photos/stylus/75432-Bob_Funk_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Craig Carlisle’s first indie feature, Bob Funk, harkens back to the kind of movie more popular in the 1970s mainstream—aimless, oddball, and filled with great character actors. Though it never fully comes alive, Bob Funk possesses a quiet charm.

In Carlisle’s story, based on his play Bob Funk in Therapy, Bob Funk (Michael Leydon Campbell) has been living up (or is it down?) to his name. He has just been through a rocky divorce and is now drinking excessively and goofing off on the job—as the assistant to his own mother (Grace Zabriskie) at the Funk Foam and Futon Company.

Enter Miss Thorne (Rachael Leigh Cook), a beautiful but klutzy new executive at the firm. Bob tries aggressively to win her over, which causes his mother to fire him for sexual harassment. In order to rejoin the company (as a janitor!), Bob is forced to see a psychiatrist, report to his new boss (Miss Horne), and stop drinking. Will Bob make it and get out of his funk or go completely “under the volcano”?

Remember Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? or any ’70s film where the leading character ends up on a psychiatrist’s couch? For the most part, that is the kind of movie Bob Funk emulates. Aside from this plot device, Craig Carlisle’s film also boasts a flaky tone and pleasant spirit (more so than the recent Choke, which follows another unpleasant protagonist through a seriocomic adventure).

Had Carlisle found a more dynamic and charismatic leading man than Campbell, Bob Funk would have been much more arresting—which is too bad, because all the other casting is perfect. Zabriskie, currently seen on HBO’s “Big Love,” nearly steals the show as Funk’s domineering boss-mom. Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone, “The Office”) shows a zesty side as a sharp-tongued barfly. Terri Mann is likeable as Bob’s therapist. And best of all, Cook shines as the clumsy but bright (and not ditzy) heroine. A throwback to the underrated Paula Prentiss, Cook exhibits real star quality.

The production credits are above average and the score includes a nice use of Duke Ellington standards. Bob Funk might just lift you out of a funk.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Happy Christmas
Film Review: Happy Christmas

Joe Swanberg's latest feature is a collection of strong individual scenes and performances that never quite finds its statement of purpose. More »

Very Good Girls
Film Review: Very Good Girls

More of a meandering, misguided path than a road to hell, Naomi Foner’s directing debut, starring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen as 18-year-old BFFs, is similarly filled with good intentions. More »

The Kill Team
Film Review: The Kill Team

Marine Adam Winfield goes on trial in a case in which U.S. soldiers murdered innocent Afghanis. Strong subject marred by poor narrative choices. More »

The Divine Move
Film Review: The Divine Move

Excessive violence and off-the-wall plotting undermine an intriguing game-based premise. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Guardians of the Galaxy review
Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

With Marvel’s backing, cult filmmaker James Gunn blasts off for the stars and takes audiences along for a wild, funny ride. More »

Hercules
Film Review: Hercules

Legendary strongman is caught in the middle of a brutal civil war in a fast-paced vehicle for Dwayne Johnson. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here