By Merle Bertrand | March 5, 2001

TEXAS FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW! Bob (Michæl Waite) is an anonymous, slightly nerdy worker drone who fills up the lonely hours since his divorce dreaming about starting his “Baby Food” restaurant chain — all the food will be either pink or blue — and working two bland jobs. One of those jobs is as a salesman. As Bob’s performance has been a little down lately, his boss assigns him to spend a few days with the company’s top saleswoman, Stephanie.
That’s who he thinks he’s met when he hops in the flashy sports car driven by an attractive woman with a “Stephanie” key chain. Unbeknownst to Bob, however, the car has been stolen. The thief is none other than Verushka (Yelena Danova), a devilishly vivacious Russian beauty who’s determined to steal her way to a life of luxury. By the time Bob realizes his companion’s kinky sex games aren’t exotic sales tips, it’s too late. Bob’s hooked, not only on his sultry partner, but on the thrills of the heist and the easy score. The risks grow greater with their scheme of ripping off Verushka’s thick-headed but dangerous cousin and his contacts, a darkly mysterious Asian couple dealing in unknown contraband. As these risks rise, Bob must decide how far he’s willing to go to keep Verushka’s love…as well as fuel his entrepreneurial dreams.
This is one romantic comedy that’s got a really quirky feel to it. Director Roger Stigliano has crafted a charming oddball of a film here, even as it clearly struggles to stay within its budgetary means. That it largely succeeds is due primarily to the excellent performances of both Waite and Danova. The exact nature of their thievery is left a little muddy and vague, while they always seem to get away with stuff a little too easily. Yet, somehow that’s all part of the fun in a film that has as many screwball tendencies as does “Bob, Verushka and the Pursuit of Happiness.”
Then again, it’s not that much of a stretch to believe that an ordinary Joe like Bob would rather take a chance with someone like Verushka than sell vehicle deodorizers and work the late shift at the Price Club. For one thing, pink and blue food looks cool, and for another, receiving a crash course in sales techniques from Stephanie aren’t nearly as much fun as Verushka’s hobbies by a long shot.
Stigliano has stretched his dollars well. Here’s hoping that his pursuit of happiness ends with distribution for the delightfully goofy “Bob, Verushka and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

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