I found Bob Funk while searching through Netflix’s Watch Instantly offerings.  With some time to kill, I started up the 360 and streamed me some movie.  I’ve only streamed a handful of movies, plus some episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Columbo, and Party Down.  Oh, and an episode of True Jackson, VP, but that’s only because Julie Bowen was in it.  I swear.  In any case, I’ve had no problems with streaming until this time, when the dialogue came in extremely softly.  My TV’s volume goes up to 100, and I had to put it on around 90 in order to hear the diaolgue clearly.  The problem was that the sound effects came in at normal volume.  Meaning I had to watch the movie with remote in hand, shushing scenes without dialogue, otherwise having assorted screen noises come blasting through.  I’d like to think it didn’t affect my viewing of the film too much, but just wanted to throw it out there.

Bob Funk was apparently released in a few theaters early this year, but there’s scant evidence to prove it.  It is based off a play by Craig Carlisle, who wrote and directed the film.  Michael Leydon Campbell stars as the titular character, who, well, it is a little difficult to describe him.  Funk works as the VP of sales for the family business – a foam and futon chain owned by his mother (Grace Zabriskie).  He’s an alcoholic who, while not distasteful, doesn’t appear to have any redeeming qualities other than perhaps his ability to pick up girls (including, oddly enough, Oscar nominee Amy Ryan) at his favorite watering hole.  After an incident with his soon-to-be replacement (Rachael Leigh Cook), he’s fired, leading down a long path on the road to recovery.

Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the film is that it is never clear Funk has a heart of gold.  His co-workers (Stephen Root, Nadia Djani, and Alex Desert) don’t seem to ever particularly like him.  He has something less than a loving relationship with brother (Eddie Jemison) who also works for the company, no doubt partially due to their forceful mother (they lost their father when they were young).  He’s a womanizer, no doubt partially due to his wife running off with another man.  And while I applaud the move away from the cliche, I found myself just not particularly caring about the character.

While Bob Funk adds some kinda interesting quirks to the typical redemption story, it ultimately is too muddled to work well as a movie.  The middle section sags (look at me resist the urge to make a futon joke) considerably, and the resolution isn’t terribly satisfying.  And the subplots seem inserted without any real consideration as to why they are in there.

Still, the movie isn’t a total loss.  There’s a legitimate argument to be made that Rachael Leigh Cook is the cutest actress out there.  She provides perhaps the majority of laugh out loud moments.  In my opinion, she deserves a better career.  Though be warned, she has above-the-title billing, but plays a supporting character.  The supporting cast is chock full of That Guys, they just all feel mostly underused.  It probably goes without saying that the Amy Ryan scenes are worth watching, though I’m admittedly still a little scarrred from how her dalliance with Funk ended.  And if you do watch, be sure to watch the scenes over the end credits, they are pretty amusing.