Bunny and the Bull

Review by Matt Bochenski @MattLWLies

Directed by

Paul King

Starring

Noel Fielding Simon Farnaby Verónica Echegui

Anticipation.

The Mighty Boosh is ace, but aren’t we a bit tired of those two Shoreditch twats now?

Enjoyment.

Turns out they’re not really in it. And anyway, you’ll be too busy laughing to care.

In Retrospect.

A cliché-free British comedy that isn’t in league with the London tourist board. Be impressed.

Paul King’s endlessly inventive road movie is very much a case of back to the future for British comedy.

Channelling the abstract absurdity of Monty Python, and the gleeful comic tomfoolery of Carry On, Bunny and the Bull is very much a case of back to the future for British comedy.

Billed as ‘the Mighty Boosh movie’, Bunny is the brainchild of Paul King, the writer-director who made his name on the comedy series set in London’s East End. And though Bunny is its own beast, a lot of what made the Boosh tick is present here – the wild flights of imagination; the paranoid fantasy; not to mention the epic silliness, the great one-liners and the ubiquitous Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding.

But it’s telling that those two take a back seat. Our heroes are Stephen (Ed Hogg) and his best mate Bunny (Simon Farnaby) whose European road trip is re-lived through a series of off-kilter flashbacks from Stephen’s flat – an OCD nightmare that mirrors, blurs with and eventually becomes his own twisted brain space.

The road trip, it transpires, did not go well. After hooking up with Spanish waitress Eloisa (Verónica Echegui) in a Polish Mr Krab (a diner inspired – as all things should be – by SpongeBob SquarePants), the threesome set off for Seville, a semi-mythical location where love will be lost, hearts will be broken and lives will be changed forever.

Though inspired by the likes of Lynch, Gilliam and Danny Boyle, King is no TV chancer imitating his heroes. He demonstrates the same natural gift for cinema as Edgar Wright, but unlike the Spaced crew, you get the sense that he won’t be tooling around the cosy mainstream of British cinema. There’s an anarchic spirit, a crazed creativity to Bunny and the Bull that puts it out of sight of its peers.

The Boosh aesthetic works brilliantly on the big screen. ‘Europe’ is evoked through a grab bag of increasingly deranged cardboard cutouts and DIY effects. It’s Gondry on acid, spinning cartwheels through a gymnasium for the imagination. It’s also sharp-tongued, emotionally honest and above all very, very funny.

With White Lightnin’ barely having slipped from cinemas, Ed Hogg continues to kill it as a peculiarly 21st century lead – whip-thin, moist-eyed and metrosexual. But it’s Simon Farnaby who steals the show: charismatic, confident and with a liquid baritone delivery. He also gets the film’s best line – a piece of grammar-slash-love advice that every man should follow.

This is, in a sense, a ‘small’ film. Low budget, no real stars, unlikely to play abroad. But it’s so much more than that, too. Bunny and the Bull is an original, inventive, occasionally startling British comedy that showcases a breakout talent in Paul King. There’s no doubt he could follow a well-trodden path to blockbuster glory, but you get the feeling that he’d rather take the road less travelled. Lucky us.

Published 28 Nov 2009

Tags: Noel Fielding Paul King Simon Farnaby

Anticipation.

The Mighty Boosh is ace, but aren’t we a bit tired of those two Shoreditch twats now?

Enjoyment.

Turns out they’re not really in it. And anyway, you’ll be too busy laughing to care.

In Retrospect.

A cliché-free British comedy that isn’t in league with the London tourist board. Be impressed.

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