A Streetcat Named Bob is based on the true story of James Bowen and the eponymous cat he meets, as told in the bestselling book of the same name. Bowen (played here by Luke Treadaway) is a homeless busker, making money by playing songs on his guitar and is on a methadone program. One night, he comes home and finds out that the cat of the title (played by himself) has invaded his home. Wherever Bowen goes, the cat goes too, so the two end up forming a friendship. Bob helps Bowen get more attention and money, but their friendship is not without complications.
The film does realise something about its audience: none of them can resist a cute little cat. Throughout the film, people come up to Bowen and Bob so they can look at Bob and take selfies with Bob, and the film hopes its audience has the same reaction to Bob. Bob is the one who gets the lion’s share of the close-ups and reaction shots, and while watching, it’s hard to wonder what he’s thinking about as he assists Bowen on his journey. Treadaway does well showing Bowen’s struggle, especially when he tries to quit methadone for good, but Bob is really the best actor here, and the one most likely to hold the viewer’s attention.
The rest of the film is nothing really special. It does manage to charm at times, and there are well-done emotional moments, so you do get a good idea of what Bowen is going through and why he needs help. It is, however, mostly forgettable and in tone and execution, hardly distinguishable from most inspiring “based on a true story” movies. That does not mean the movie is a waste of time, however, and it is worth a watch, if only for the title character.