Would the real Saint Bob please stand up?
IN many ways, it’s a pity that I Am Bob is a short film. It’s an absolute hoot, and the sheer scope for taking the piss out of one of rock music’s more sanctimonious media junkies means it could easily have been extended beyond 19 minutes. The target of this pithy send- up is, of course, philanthropist and dishevelled curmudgeon Bob Geldof.
Geldof’s earnest fight against African poverty, particularly the Live Aid concert, made him one of the most recognisable faces in the world and as annoyingly ubiquitous as U2’ s Bono.
Although his musical career appears to have fizzled out compared with the heady days of the Boomtown Rats, his profile has remained high as a result of personal controversies in the 1990s and the 2005 Live 8 concert. This does the star absolutely no good, however, when he is inadvertently abandoned by an incompetent chauffeur in the Lancashire village of Long Marston.
Geldof finds himself penniless and stranded at a tacky motel hosting a lookalike competition. Naturally, everyone mistakes him for a competitor and laughs off his increasingly annoyed claims that he is the real Geldof.
This may not be the most original plot in the world but the execution is nine- tenths of the battle and in this case it’s delightful. Geldof is desperate to get to a Make Poverty History fundraiser and offers a Popeimpersonating taxi driver £ 1000 to take him.
When the offer is rebuffed because he can’t pay the money up front, he asks if there are any other taxis in town. ‘‘ They’re inside mate: Austin Powers, Pamela Anderson and Yasser Arafat,’’ comes the cheerful reply. The rock star quickly realises an obvious solution is to enter the competition as himself and try to claim the prizemoney. The problem is he is not the only Bob Geldof to turn up that night.
The great thing about this favourite at the Tribeca Film Festival is the person who spends the most time putting the boot into the Geldof persona is Geldof himself. He plays up his famous penchant for expletives while at the same time skewering the holier- than- thou ‘‘ St Bob’’ reputa- tion he garnered while on his mission for the Third World.
The biggest laughs come as he is pitted against the fake Geldof in a performance of the Boomtown Rats hit I Don’t Like Mondays and as he tries to answer questions about himself during a tie- breaker.
Director, producer and writer Donald Rice hits his target dead centre with this all- too- short offering, helped in no small measure by Geldof’s world- weary and selfdeprecating performance.
Delightful: Bob Geldof presents a familiar face in I AmBob