(director/writer: Matthew Bauer; screenwriter: Rene Van Pannevis; cinematographer: James Touche; editor: Lesley Posso; music: Alastair McNamara; cast: James Alexander Bond, Gunnar James Bond Schäfer, James Lee Bond, James Bond Jr.; Runtime: 80; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Michelle Brandum/Matthew Bauer; Gravitas Ventures; 2022-UK)

“It would make a better “Candid Camera” like TV show than a movie.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Bond fans should know the title comes from 1969’s “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” when one-time 007 actor George Lazenby said “This never happened to the other fellow!”, referring to Sean Connery always looking good in the role.
Australian filmmaker Matthew Bauer is a first-time feature filmmaker, who co-writes this gimmicky documentary with Rene Van Pannevis. Matt interviews many men who are named James Bond, and explores how having the same name as 007 has affected them. It’s a fairly lighthearted film, yet many interviewed have aspects that are dark.  The slight film makes the most of its gimmick.

There are interviews with Bond namesakes like the gay Brit theater director James Alexander Bond that become heavy; with James Lee, an elderly retired Texas oil man in a cowboy hat, who shows no interest in the fictional Bond; in South Bend, Indiana, police arrested James Bond Jr., a Black man, during a traffic stop, because he told officers his name was James Bond and they didn’t believe him. A white judge  sentences him to 60 days in jail for “obstruction” because of the arrogant way he said his real name; and there’s Gunnar Schäfer, a Swedish man who became so obsessed with 007 (because during WW2 his dad was a spy), that he added the name to his own and would later establish a James Bond Museum. 

Though easy to watch, It would make a better “Candid Camera” like TV show than a movie.

It played at the SF Indie Fest.

REVIEWED ON 2/25/2023  GRADE: B-