Vivendi Visual Entertainment // 2005 // 90 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge Mitchell Hattaway (Retired) // December 20th, 2005
This family will never be the same.
Thank you, Santa, for this wonderful piece of coal you put in my stocking.
A slacker named Bob goes to school to become a butler. He then gets hired by a neat-freak businesswoman/single mother who has a gap-toothed, insecure son and a jug-eared, just-trying-to-fit-in daughter. Cue the clichés.
This is a review of Bob the Butler, but I guess you already know that. What you might not know is that the star of Bob the Butler is Tom Green. Now that you do know that, I will understand completely if you have suddenly chosen to stop reading this review. Okay, so is anybody still out there? Oh, well, guess I might as well keep going.
Jesus, this movie sucks. Big time. Out loud. Like an industrial model Hoover. It also commits two completely unforgivable sins, both of which I will get to momentarily. First off, let's cover the basics: Bob (Tom Green, Freddy Got Fingered) is a doofus who can't hold down a job. Anne (Brooke Shields, Speed Zone!) is a workaholic single mom who almost never has time for her kids. Bates (Benjamin Smith, Antitrust), Anne's son, is a little runt who has dreams of making his school's basketball team. Tess (Genevieve Buechner, The Final Cut), Anne's daughter, is a wannabe fashion designer who desperately yearns to be accepted by the cool girls at her school. After exhausting all of her other options, Anne hires Bob to look after her kids. Bob, who has just graduated from a butler school run by a no-nonsense British chap named Mr. Butler (Simon Callow, Four Weddings and a Funeral), takes to his new job with great enthusiasm. The kids grow to love him, Anne grows to love him, and they all become one big, happy family. The end.
Sure, that summary simplifies things just a bit, but not much. Yeah, there are complications along the way, but do they really matter? No, but I'll hit a few of them just for the record. At one point Tess tries to get Bob fired because Bob sides with Anne when Anne says her daughter shouldn't be wearing skimpy clothing. This gets resolved when Bob doesn't mention to Anne that Tess was arrested after the cool girls at school talked her into a round of shoplifting. (Gee, didn't see that one coming.) At one point Bates tries to get Bob fired because he's upset Bob didn't secure him a spot on the basketball team. This gets resolved when Bates own up to releasing Bob's pet hamster into his mother's room, a prank which had scared the living hell out of her. (Gee, didn't see that one coming.) And at one point Anne does actually fire Bob, ostensibly because she thinks he has overstepped his bounds and is attempting to become a surrogate father to the kids. This gets resolved when Anne invites Bob to a concert, which is followed by an early morning trip down to the docks so Anne can prevent Bob from going on a butler's cruise (say what?), which is followed by a tearful Anne stopping at a carwash at which Bob is now employed, which is followed by Anne and Bob smooching, which is followed by Anne and Bob getting married and hiring Mr. Butler to watch over the kids. (Gee, didn't see any of that coming.) The end.
See what I meant when I mentioned the clichés? With the possible exception of someone getting seriously injured or becoming gravely ill, Bob the Butler trots out every dried-up, ancient idea you can possibly fit into this type of movie. You just know that at some point Bob is going to walk in on Anne when she's naked. You just know Bob is going to make autoerotic jokes about Bates's name. You just know the kids are going to vacillate between loving and hating Bob. You just know Bob's eventually going to get fired. You just know Anne will eventually realize Bob has her family's best interests at heart. You just know Anne and Bob are eventually going to end up together. Honestly, the only surprise in this movie is that Tom Green doesn't take the hamster and stick it into a bodily orifice.
Remember what I said about the two unforgivable sins this movie commits? Well, the first involves the opening credits, during which The Climax Blues Band's "Couldn't Get It Right" is played over animated clips of Bob failing at various jobs. I'm sorry, but a piece of music I remember so fondly from back in the day shouldn't be employed in a movie of this ilk. The second involves a long shot of Tom Green and Brooke Shields swapping spit. Let me put it this way -- if the sight of Brooke Shields being made to kiss Tom Green doesn't make you question the existence of your deity of choice, nothing will. And while I know Brooke voluntarily put herself in this position, I cannot help but feel somewhat sorry for her. (First Michael Jackson, then Tom Cruise, and now Tom Green. She just can't seem to stop getting herself mixed up with these idiots.)
The technical presentation fits the film nicely, as it also bites. The transfer is a pan-and-scan hack job. Whoever is responsible for the transfer simply decided to lop off the sides and concentrate on the center of the frame, which often leaves the primary focus of any given scene visible only on the edges of the screen. Characters who are speaking are often cut out of shots, and there are numerous moments when the only visible parts of the actors are their arms, hands, and noses. On top of this, the transfer wavers between being grainy, noisy, and overly soft. The audio fares slightly better, although at times the dialogue becomes unintelligible, and the infrequent use of the surround channels sounds incredibly artificial. The only extras are a couple of deleted and extended scenes. Get this -- these scenes are all presented in anamorphic widescreen! Yeah, that decision makes sense. Anyway, these extra bits of footage are just as worthless as what actually made it into the film, although they should be a pleasant surprise for anyone who is dying to see Simon Callow's naked ass.
Oh, yeah, one more thing. Tom Green raps over the closing credits. I think nothing more regarding that needs to be said.
I've tried long and hard to come up with one good thing about this movie, and I think I've finally found one: Tom Green's fifteen minutes are almost up.
Kill me. Kill me now.
You know and I know it, so do I even have to say it?
Review content copyright © 2005 Mitchell Hattaway; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2015 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Vivendi Visual Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated PG
* Deleted Scenes