We’ve seen before when a director gives debut actors the lead roles that it can be successful. Here, we see it once again.
For Valero Escolar, Mohamed Mellali and Pep Sarrà (r), The Odd-Job Men is their first experience as actors. They trained their improvisational skills for three years with the director Neus Ballús (“Staff Only”, “The Plague”), after being casted.
Moha (Mohamed) is a Moroccan now living in Barcelona. Unlike his two friends who sit around the apartment all day watching football, Moha is taking Spanish lessons and trying to find work.
This is where he meets Valero and Pep. They run a small odd-job/hand-man business, mainly doing plumbing, but whatever really. Valero runs the business with his wife and Pep, as well as Valero’s best friend, is also their oldest employee.
However, all good things must come to an end and Pep is heading for retirement and so Valero’s wife invites Moha for a weeks trial.
Straight from the off Valero takes a dislike to him. Ballús and co-writer Margarita Melgar (“La dona del segle (TV)”, “The Light of Hope (TV)”) do well to make you think this is a bias towards Moha not being Spanish.
As the team meet their various and eccentric clients, Valero bosses Moha around, who just takes it, whilst Pep takes more of a back seat, and by Wednesday isn’t with the pair at all.
The men go from being locked on a balcony by some twin girls, to having their car towed to Moha ending up doing some modelling, with his shirt off, whilst Valero is trying to fix an A/C unit.
Whilst this is going on you see Moha’s two flatmates asking him why he’s bother and, when one says, “why would they accept you when they haven’t accepted the ones who came before you” it leaves him wondering.
Finally, on Friday, they wind up installing a home automation system at a psychiatrists house and, whilst there, wind up having a mini session, resulting in Moha storming out.
At the bar later, Valero meets Pep and Pep guesses exactly what’s happened. Telling Valero that he doesn’t think before he speaks, he’s too harsh with people.
When he gets home Valeros wife says they’re lucky Moha stuck around as Valero was in such a mood what with being on a diet and Pep leaving. Valero stays quiet.
There are some lovely moments in The Odd-Job Men (Sis Dies Corrents). When Pep turns up at a kitchen showroom and loses his mind over some bad workmanship from the builders. Or when Moha is doing his voice over about his experiences, his take on the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’, “why would someone poor want WiFi, when they don’t have electricity”.
Ultimately, The Odd-Job Men lives or dies by the performance Ballús gets out of his leading men, which is wonderfully charming and funny, coupled with some lovely shots, The Odd-Job Men is a simple delight.
THE QUICK SELL
A peculiar team of three handymen has to face a series of eccentric clients. Their everyday job becomes a surrealist and exhilarating experience.