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Street Cat Named Bob, A


Stars: Luke Treadaway, Bob, Joanne Froggatt, Ruta Gedmintas, Anthony Head, Ruth Sheen, Caroline Goodall

Director: Roger Spottiswoode

Here's a story that more or less tells itself. All you need is a ginger cat called Bob. He's the star of both this film and the best-selling book on which it's based.

James Bowen (Treadaway) is a homeless street busker; recovering from heroin addiction, he's on methodone, which is a prescription drug, but one he must eventually kick.

His care worker (Froggatt, unable to bring much to the role) finds him a small flat, where he makes the acquaintance of Bob, a stray cat who attaches himself to James, almost literally as he perches on the busker's shoulder, proving a crowd-puller as his master's income improves.

There's not a lot to the rest: Bob goes to the vet's; James flirts with a vegan neighbour (Gedmintas); Bob runs away; James goes through agonies getting clean, though a New Year's Eve visit to his father (Head) is a disaster as Bob wrecks the sitting-room; Bob jumps on a bus to be with James; and the pair gradually become Internet celebrities.

Treadaway inhabits Bowen's skin with complete conviction, but of course the cat is the star of the show, adorable if somewhat immobile and, one suspects, replaced with a somewhat thinner moggy for the earlier scenes. Watch out for a flash of the real James Bowen at the climactic book-signing. 'Did you enjoy it?' asks Treadaway. 'Yes.' replies Bowen, 'I lived every moment.'

David Quinlan

UK 2016. UK Distributor: Sony (Stage 6). Colour (unspecified).
103 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 0.

Review date: 31 Oct 2016