In 2016 we were introduced to a stray ginger cat named Bob who helped a busker and recovering drug addict turn his life around.
That movie, A Street Cat Named Bob, was based on an international best seller co-written by the man whose story it told, James Bowen.
It was a charmer.
Now Luke Treadaway returns as Bowen in the sequel, A Christmas Gift From Bob.
The basis of this one is Bowen facing the threat of losing his precious sidekick.
Bowen chances upon a fellow busker who is sleeping rough and is picked on by a particularly officious law enforcement officer.
In trying to help out this busker, Bowen turns back the clock to Christmas past and relates the story of what happened to him (Bowen).
Back then, Bowen was living in squalid, freezing conditions with Bob and his busking was earning barely enough to make ends meet.
Even though he had a roof over his head and the support of a lovely young lady from a charity operation, along with the wisdom and positivity of the manager of the local convenience store, Bowen’s future remained uncertain.
When his cat was set upon by a dog and later when Bob got sick, Bowen’s equilibrium was thrown.
Added to that was pressure from those policing the animal rights laws and you had a precarious situation.
I am afraid that unlike the original, I thought this follow up, though well meaning, lacked substance.
In other words, the script by Gary Jenkins, who ghosted the original novel with Bowen that spawned the first film was wafer thin.
It was short on creativity and long on platitudes.
All of it appeared manufactured to solicit sympathy, so it lacked authenticity.
You could see and feel the manipulation that was going on, as directed by Charles Martin Smith (A Dog’s Way Home), and that by its very nature detracts from enjoyment.
And that is notwithstanding the best endeavours of the actors to play the parts in which they were cast.
Treadaway maintains the gracious wariness that characterised his role in the first film, Bea’s passion for the cause as a charity worker is immediately evident, while home spun wisdom, after undergoing his own trials, is his distinguishing feature.
Still, I am afraid all of that isn’t enough to carry the day.
A Christmas Gift From Bob is nowhere near as compelling as it could/should have been.
Rated PG, it scores a 5 out of 10.