I’ve routinely heard the virtues of programming a film festival with your mental mood in mind extolled from others who make sure to try and find some levity in between the darkness. For many, it’s tough to do a large-scale festival like TIFF without finding room for lighter, feel-good fare. This partially explains why films such as Jojo Rabbit and Green Book have played so well at the festival in the past: if you’re watching four films in a day, and three of them are depressing, the one that stands out is the one that’s not like the others.
I however, am not like the other girls, and thus, I loathe seeing films that feel frivolous. “Please, dwell on the darkness,” I scream, because at my heart I am a sad boi. Anyways, this a lot of words to suggest that Neus Ballús’ The Odd Job Men is the very opposite of what I would normally program for myself. Here, Moha (Mohamad Mellalí) is a Moroccan immigrant trying to make it in a bustling Barcelona. He’s taking Catalan classes, and had a tenuous relationship with his boss—the demanding Valero (Valero Escobar). By way of observation, Moha finds the humour and humanity of the city.
On a pleasure scale, The Odd Job Men works well enough to be an enjoyable watch, which likely means it will be a hit at the festival. But the film falls a touch short at being more than simply enjoyable, which is a real shame.