Felix Robicheaux (Richard Gayler) is the title character in Mike Miley’s film “The Bugman,” which is based on a short story of the same name by Louisiana writer Tim Gautreaux. Well-mannered and exuding a cheery disposition, Felix is the sort of exterminator you wish you had. His insecticide doesn’t stink up his clients’ houses, he won’t refer to his clients by their first names unless they say so, and he cares for the general well-being of the people with whom he comes in contact. Miley’s film is about an exterminator who takes an interest in more than the critters that inhabit his clients’ homes. With a monthly appointment at the residences, Robicheaux can’t help but become emotionally curious if not invested in his clients’ lives.
The film begins with Robicheaux’s visit to Margaret Malone (Caroline Surace). Dubbed The Beauty Queen by Robicheaux and his wife Clarisse (Lanelle Scott), Mrs. Malone has been grieving over the death of her husband. Her house might still look warm because of the sunlight, but it doesn’t feel that way. Robicheaux thinks that perhaps The Beauty Queen will be in better spirits if she got out of the house. He tries his hand at subtle match-making, “Emma” style, when he finds out that a new client from down the street is newly single.
In another part of town, Robicheaux involuntarily witnesses what a family is like when none of its members particularly likes each other. He tries his best not to intervene in certain situations in which he may find himself, but his environment has a way of getting to him. You may think Robicheaux crosses a serviceman-client line in regards to some of his actions, but he means well. Most of us aren’t going to be so forgiving when it comes to another’s good (but unsolicited) intentions. In Robicheaux’s case, though, we won’t be too hard on him. We’ll still wish he was our bugman.