Superbob is the creation of Brett Goldstein. Goldstein started out in stand-up comedy and has made a number of appearances in various comedy shows and straight dramatic roles on film and tv. He also wrote the non-comedy film Wish You Were Here (2005). Goldstein had previously teamed with director Jon Drever, a classmate from school, and they premiered the character of Bob in the four-minute short film Superbob (2009).
The superhero parody has had a more than reasonable life on film and tv ranging from The Return of Captain Invincible (1983) to The Tick (1994-6) and the popular hit of The Incredibles (2004). In recent years, the superhero parody has taken the form of a deflation in a series of films about superheroes that have no powers such as Defendor (2009), Griff the Invisible (2010), Kick-Ass (2010) and Super (2010).
Superbob wrings some amusement out of the superhero parody. Jon Drever adopts a mockumentary approach and the show is told through the eyes of a film crew following Bob (although it is a soft mockumentary and we are supposed to forget there is a camera crew there at various points like during the romantic scenes where the couple improbably allow a camera crew to get into closeup). Bob has the standard range of powers not too different from Superman but is someone who everybody around regards as an ineffectual muddler. The early scenes of the film are particularly good at getting the uncomfortable twittishness of Bobs efforts to do right down there is a side-splittingly funny scene where he is asked to give a speech for a geriatric couple who are having their fiftieth wedding anniversary and starts rambling on about how it is a good thing they are near to death and keeps digging himself into an even more embarrassing hole with everything he says. Goldstein and the entire cast have a marvellous way with deadpan understatement and you have to be constantly watching around the edges of what is happening to get all the humour in the film. Much of the humour also deals with the British obsession with (and resistance to) bureaucracy and paperwork. It is very British humour this is a film that would never have been made in America, or if it was, the humour would all have been played broadly and obviously to make sure that everybody got every punchline.
In the latter half of the show, the everyday mockumentary aspect gives way to a dramatic structure of sorts and becomes far less interesting there are even times the film seems to be taking its romantic element seriously and is emotionally rooting for the characters to get together. The film sets up some very predictable story arcs in the incident with the Americans, and especially that Brett Goldstein is going to realise that Laura Haddock is not the right person for him and rush into the arms of Natalia Tena. That said, it does a very likeable job of delivering either. In particular, these scenes gain a great deal from the vivacious and sparkling presence of Natalia Tena, who I did not recognise until afterwards as the wildling Osha from tvs Game of Thrones (2011 ).