TIFF Review: The Odd-Job Men

Pep, Valero and Moha

The greatest comedies focus on the mundane. Those everyday events which can be hilariously funny in the right hands. The unusual relationships between people, often forced together through circumstance rather than choice. The most famous screen example of this is perhaps Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in the adaptation of Neil Simon’s play, The Odd Couple. Three men have an uneasy work relationship in The Odd-Job Men.

Pep (Pep Sarrà) Is looking forward to retirement. He runs a small plumbing and electrical repair company with his partner Valero (Valero Escolar). The younger man is apprehensive about taking over. These fears are hardly assuaged when Moha (Mohamed Mellali), a Moroccan immigrant, joins on a trial basis. Valero can barely contain his distain for his new colleague, but as the week progresses the pair are pushed together in a number of minor disasters.

The Odd-Job Men is a warm-hearted comedy about macho posturing, innate prejudice and male insecurity. Valero’s constant intimidation and bluster washes up against Moha’s calm and determined exterior. Manifesting itself in barely disguised anxiety. Neus Ballús’s quiet and intricate character study uses a situational approach to draw this relationship out. The Odd Job-Men is a sweet and sanguine observational comedy which allows its subject the space to breathe.

The Odd-Job Men screens at Toronto International Film Festival.

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