“ Genre: Comedy / Theatrical Release: 2008 / Suitable for 15 years and over / Director: Paul King / Actors: Ed Hogg, Simon Farnaby, Noel Fielding, Julian Barratt, Rich Fulcher ... / DVD released 2010-03-29 at Optimum Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
Run-Time - 101 minutes
Certificate - 15
Genre - quirky indie
Country - British
So, Paul King, the highly rated writer and creator of the rather surreal Mighty Boosh and the extremely under-rated and little seen Gareth Marenghi's Dark Place, has a crack at film here with this rather unfortunate misfire called Bunny and the Bull. At best this is a short film but the success of his above TV comedy shows has seen his ego take out the driver on the first tee and dump this in the trees. A less ambitious long iron would have been more appropriate for our first foray into film so to stay on the comedy fairway to aim at some sort of audience. Mixing the surrel with 'knob gags' was always going to be a risk but King couldn't resist, the film made in a similar style to his surreal sitcoms with some of the same cast members bring that stuff to the project.
Edward Hogg ... Stephen
Simon Farnaby ... Bunny
Verónica Echegui ... Eloisa
Richard Ayoade ... Museum curator
Julian Barratt ... Atilla
Noel Fielding ... Javier
Waleed Khalid ... Ray
Madeleine Worrall ... Melanie
Narrator: "For some time now, Stephen Turnbull has been a man of routine. Every day he showers for twenty seven minutes, brushes for four, gargles for eight and flosses for seven. He then files the floss, stacks his urine and notes its PH. Next he washes everything that has so far touched his body, completes a 200-page book of bumper crosswords and watches eight episodes of Ray Mears' Extreme Survival on videotape. Then it's time for lunch"
Stephen (Edward Hogg) hasn't left his house in months, suffering some sort of agoraphobia, aggravated by a serious case of obsessive compulsive disorder. When an infestation of mice wreaks havoc on his meticulous daily routine, he finds his thoughts drifting back to a disastrous backpacking adventure around Europe with his best friend Bunny (Simon Farnaby).
Stephen reconstructs the journey using objects found around his flat, while hallucinations of several people from the journey haunt him. The trip came about after Stephen got the big knock back from a girl called Melanie (Madeleine Worrall), the love of his life, but she just wanting to be friends....the plenty more fishe in the sea speech soon following.
His best mate Bunny (Simon Farnaby), a compulsive gambler, womaniser and drunk, who's hobbies include milking a cow wit his teeth, suggest they go on a trip around Europe, funded by Bunny's insistence that Stephen places fifty pounds on a rank outsider, and with that £2,500 winnings off they go. Along the way they encounter plenty of interesting characters including: a mental dog-loving bum (Julian Barratt), an alcoholic ex-matador (Noel Fielding), a lugubrious tour-guide (Richard Ayoade) and a kooky and superstitious waitress called Eloisa (Veronica Echegui), with whom both Bunny and Stephen quite fancy.
Veggie and nervy Stephen is hopeless around women and so Bunny soon in her bed. Eventually the duo catch a train to Spain where Bunny confesses that the only reason they went to Spain as part of the trip was to fight a bull. On that journey the eccentric characters pile up and so do the romantic opportunities, but only one winner there. But can Stephen finally let a woman know his real feelings and win the pretty girl over on his unique journey or will even his daydream turn on him once again.
The tag line of 'Bunny and the Bull is a road movie set entirely in a flat' ,immediately setting the neon warning signs of surrealism flashing and so enough of a hint that this could indeed be a tough watch. It's basically a heavy steel from the rather quirky and interesting 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' and the stunning French movie Ameile, but not a patch on those two classics.
Its already small catchment group didn't go for it with minimal word of mouth to get it seen to follow, fans of those two sitcoms clearly not getting it, making just £57,990 pounds so far and so clearly a flop which ever way you look at it. It's just irritating because it's too niche and aimed at such a tiny demographic, almost a vanity exercise. Trying to be Monty 'Pythonesque' is very risky and sacrilegious if you don't have a plan and the strength of material and that's what seems to have happened here.
There's a part of you that wants to say well done for trying something very different in comedy but this should have only ever surfaced as a 30 minute short. The interpolated animations and hallucinogenic sequences are cute but no more. Someone should have told King that this is a feature film they are making and not a student project. It's just too whacky to like and the mix of the Mighty Boosh style bonker's comedy with the puerile Young Ones jokes comes together like oil and water. First year film students and Art House fans will probably wet their pants over this whereas I just reached for the fast forward, that kind of experience, this very much in that New Tate genre of filmmaking. Its not suprising that it rated most highly on Imdb.com with the young student demographic.
The Guardian - "Much to appreciate, then, but less to enjoy".
Film4 - "A wildly inventive debut".
The Independent - "Hogg and Farnaby have some very funny interplay, but the dynamics of the characters' friendship are thoroughly familiar".
The Australian - "While Bunny And The Bull is a visual treat, the film too often trumps style over substance, resulting in a work which disappointingly feels less than the sum of its quirky parts".
Imdb.com - 6.6/10.0 (1,435 votes)
Rottentomatos.com - critic's rated it 65% ( users 61%)
= = = Special Features = = =
King and cast waffle on with one to many drinks.
-Behind the Scenes-
King talks more about his film style and why he cast the cast he did.
There's at least £57,990 worth here (the films gross take so far) of outtakes and nonsense.
I hate these funnies as they always feel staged to fill out the contracted extras.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Welcome to the downright surreal and extremely bizarre comedy of Bunny and the Bull. A film built upon the visions of director Paul King of Mighty Boosh fame. First thing I would say that although there are certainly elements of Boosh throughout the film I didn't really find the humour or the plot to be generally similar besides perhaps those sections containing both Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt. I think those people expecting 'Boosh The Movie' will be dissapointed as a result. Bunny and the Bull works as a film in it's own right.
"For some time now, Stephen Turnbull has been a man of routine. Every day he showers for twenty seven minutes, brushes for four, gargles for eight and flosses for seven. He then files the floss, stacks his urine and notes its PH. Next he washes everything that has so far touched his body, completes a 200-page book of bumper crosswords and watches eight episodes of Ray Mears' Extreme Survival on videotape. Then it's time for lunch"
The plot of Bunny And The Bull certainly spends a great deal of time on how painful memories from our past can adversely affect our present outlook on life. Our main character Stephen is unable to leave his london flat, crippled socially and inwardly by some kind of an awful happening. This is a man clearly scared by that which he cannot control, he has turned his flat into a virtual mausoleum, collecting his own urine and eating the exact same meal each and every day.
The set up of the film through flash backs gets us slowly up to speed in regard to the reasons behind Stephens condition and in particular introduces us to his insane but colourful best friend Bunny played by Simon Farnaby as the two of them set upon a trip around Europe.
The mixture of inventive animation (an underpass made from newspaper, a fairground made from clock parts and a bull made out of cutlery among many others!) coupled with live action works a treat, as does the contrast between the two main characters. Many people have likened the relationship to that of a psychadelic Withnail and I and suppose this, as a description, is not far off at all.
"Much has been written about the art of bullfighting, but I can sum it up in one sentence: get out of the way of the bull, you idiot! Otherwise he will rip open your a**s like it was a cheap velcro wallet"
The Noel Fielding cameo, as a slightly unhinged alcoholic matador is pleasing, as is the Julian Barratt Cameo as a disturbed homeless person with a fetish for dog milk. The two of them in the lead roles wouldn't have work and instead the film belongs to Hogg and Farnaby, who act out an anarchic and surprisingly touching meditation on male friendship, impotent bravado, and grief. Farnaby has created a genuine character whose obsession with gambling about literally anything is matched only by a clear desire to have sex with anything with a pulse. He's self obessed, selfish, disgusting and yet you cannot help but like him. Hogg plays it relatively straight in comparison which creates some very funny moments as a result.
I basically loved 'Bunny and the Bull', I was shocked how much I liked it actually given that I'd read alot of relatively negative reviews. I love the artistic intent, I loved the characterisation, the attention to detail and the comedic performances. I was touched by the ending and I thought the soundtrack complented the film brilliantly especially Alone Again Or towards the end.
This film is certainly worth owning for £5 and I think it's one that I will watch a number of times over the years.