Rita, Sue and Bob Too! (1987)

Rita, Sue and Bob Too! (1987)
 
 

Rita and Sue do Bob a Job

There's no way I'm workin' all week for twenty-seven pounds thirty on some bleedin' trainin' scheme - Sue

George Costigan, Michelle Holmes and Siobhan Finneran in Rita, Sue and Bob Too!

It's been over 20 years since "Rita, Sue and Bob Too!" was released and whilst it has been on my list of movies to watch for many of those years it has taken till now to finally watch it. And now having watched it I can honestly say I have absolutely no idea how I feel about the movie because it is strange on so many levels. There is this portrait of life in Yorkshire during the 80s, where you have ramshackle council estates with boarded up windows and half wrecked cars on front lawns which delivers this grimness. But then you have the story of Bob a married thirty something that ends up having a strange affair with two teenage baby sitters, and this affair is full of comedy. If that wasn't strange enough watching this 80s flick now it's also strangely amusing in a very dated way and all of this combines to leave me flummoxed as to whether "Rita, Sue and Bob Too!" is just plainly weird or in fact quite good.

Rita (Siobhan Finneran) and Sue (Michelle Holmes) are teenage best friends who share pretty much everything and that includes Bob (George Costigan) a married thirty something that they baby sit for. They share him by having an affair with him, going up to the moors with him and having sex in his car, one after the other. But whilst both loving every moment of sharing Bob it does end up causing issues especially when Bob's wife discovers their strange three way relationship and it becomes public knowledge.

One of the things I struggled the most with when it comes to "Rita, Sue and Bob Too!" is what is the point of it all. We watch as Bob ends up having affairs with Rita and Sue, partly because his marriage has gone stale but also he is quiet evidently a randy bugger. And so we watch as this affair becomes public knowledge and heated rows ensue not just between Bob and his wife but also between Rita and Sue. Yet it never really goes anywhere and whilst the outcome of this troubled and rather strange threesome is sort of amusing it doesn't really make all of the drama which went before to have a point or purpose.

So I suppose that means that "Rita, Sue and Bob Too!" is playing it for laughs, we are meant to laugh at the playful way that Bob seduces Rita and Sue at the same time taking them up to the moors to have sex with them in his car one after the other. And we are meant to laugh at the way these two teenage girls seem so happy to play Bob along just to get "jumped" as they so delightfully put it. But whilst some of it is strangely amusing there is plenty which feels very wrong and unfunny. In fact it feels like the writer wanted to have fun by delivering comedy from a taboo subject and it puts you as the audience in a strange situation that you are laughing at stuff which feels so wrong.

Funnily, with "Rita, Sue and Bob Too!" now looking extremely dated many of the better laughs come from the 80s fashions and music, well you can't but help crack up in the disco scene where Rita, Sue and Bob dance to Black Lace singing "We're Having a Gang Bang".

And adding to making "Rita, Sue and Bob Too!" a curiosity are the actual performances as whilst entertaining George Costigan as Bob is also incredibly cheesy. Maybe that was the point, Costigan was trying to make Bob almost a medallion man who fires of tacky lines to seduce the teenage girls but it goes from being amusing to painful in the same breath. And to be honest it was the same when it came to Michelle Holmes as Sue and Siobhan Finneran as Rita as there is something very corny about the characters and there blasé attitude towards their rather peculiar threesome but then it's also amusing. This mixture of painful yet funny is the same with all the characters even to the point of racist parents.

All of this makes "Rita, Sue and Bob Too!" a bit of curiosity which seems to go all over the place when it comes to drama and humour but then by the time it finishes hasn't really had a purpose.

Maybe it's just a social drama, a supposedly realistic look at life in Yorkshire and what teenage girls get up to with a randy man. But other the run down estate and some of the attitudes on show, especially when it comes to racial issues, it doesn't really feel that realistic. Maybe when it was released towards the end of the 80s the jokes, the circumstances and the moments of drama did work but now over 2 decades later it's all very curious and strange.

What this all boils down to is that "Rita, Sue and Bob Too!" is one of those rare movies which have left me flummoxed as to how I feel about it. It really is very curious as it is as corny as hell, and the moments of drama are not very dramatic. But the most curious thing is that it doesn't really seem to have a point just a tale of a cheating husband and his affair with the teenage babysitters. Maybe for those who first saw it in the 80s will find it amusing but watching for the first time now leaves me wondering why on so many levels.

Tags: British Romantic Comedies