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Bob’s Weekend

An extra script polish or two would have given "Bob's Weekend" the sharper edge it needs, but the film is a useful calling card for commercials company owner Jevon O'Neill in his feature helming debut. A sweetly black, sometimes magical comedy about a boring security guard whose life is transformed in a single weekend, upbeat pic has several nice ideas and a couple of engaging performances that just about go the distance.

An extra script polish or two would have given “Bob’s Weekend” the sharper edge it needs, but the film is a useful calling card for commercials company owner Jevon O’Neill in his feature helming debut. A sweetly black, sometimes magical comedy about a boring security guard whose life is transformed in a single weekend, upbeat pic has several nice ideas and a couple of engaging performances that just about go the distance.

Bob (Bruce Jones) is a night-shift guard who memorizes encyclopedias the letter B so far in his duty hours, is despised by his stepdaughter and doesn’t get much sack action with his wife, Brenda (Anna Jaskolka). On a Friday night, he’s fired by his thuggish boss (Brian Glover, cameoing), returns home to find Brenda with her lover, and leaves Manchester for the nearby resort town of Blackpool. Determined to jump off the local pier, Bob is talked out of it by the positive-thinking Angela (Charlotte Jones), a psychology student working in a diner. Over the next two days in her company, Bob slowly recovers his grip on life.

After a slow start, pic hits its stride when the two main characters get together and can-do Angela uses can’t-do Bob as a kind of guinea pig for her studies. Some awkward comedy involving other characters is compensated for by the duo’s extended scenes together as they stroll around the tacky Blackpool sites, with O’Neill introducing several fantasy sequences that help to lift the action out of a realistic rut.

Bruce Jones (the lead in Ken Loach’s “Raining Stones”) and Charlotte Jones nicely complement each other without overdoing their differences. Tech credits are OK on the $ 2.5 million budget, and O’Neill often manages to squeeze some visual magic out of his hometown location.

Bob's Weekend

(BRITISH)

Production: An Erinfilm production. (International sales: Erinfilm, London.) Produced, directed by Jevon O'Neill. Screenplay, Jayson Rothwell, O'Neill.

Crew: Camera (color), Roy D. Smith; editor, Nick Thompson; music, David Mindel, Don Gould; production design, Marc Ingham; art direction, Simeon Halligan; sound (Dolby), Malcolm Davies, Ray French; associate producer, JonnyKurzman; assistant director, Emma Bodger. Reviewed at Edinburgh Film Festival, Aug. 20, 1996. (Also in London fest.) Running time: 91 MIN.

With: With: Bruce Jones, Brian Glover, Anna Jaskolka, Charlotte Jones.

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