VOD film review: Bunny and the Bull
James R | On 28, Apr 2013
Director: Paul King
Cast: Edward Hogg, Simon Farnaby, Noel Fielding, Julian Barrett, Veronica Echegui
Watch Bunny and the Bull online in the UK: All 4 Rakuten TV / Google Play / CHILI
Come with us a now on a journey through time and space… into one man’s London apartment. Stephen Turnbull (Hogg) is a man of routine. He gets up in his flat. He eats vegetarian ready meals in his flat. And he goes to bed. In his flat. Cut off from the world, his peaceful existence is ruined when a horde of mice raid his meat-free stockpile. And so begins a journey back into his past, reliving a road trip round Europe with his best friend, Bunny (Farnaby), and Eloise (Echegui).
Picking her up in Captain Crab’s fast seafood restaurant, she’s a Spanish waitress who can’t wait to return to her home country, where people will “make wee and love and poo in the streets”. That’s good enough for Stephen. Seizing his chance at happiness, he hijacks the holiday for her, turning their crustacean-topped car towards Spanish shores.
The world of Stephen’s memory is a mind-bending sight, as we travel through newspaper blizzards and souvenir snapshots. Made up of clockwork, stuffed bears and lots of shellfish, it’s the sort of twisted creation you’d expect from the director of The Mighty Boosh. Using back-projected stop-motion and carefully crafted bits of cardboard, Paul King’s low budget suits his high creativity; every detail is an utter delight.
But as Bunny and Stephen roam willy-nilly round Europe, their journey becomes increasingly haphazard. There’s time to take in an eccentric stranger (Barrett) who love dogs a little too much, but also room for a tour through the Museum of Shoes – featuring your guide, Richard Ayoade. The cameos are quick and chaotic, culminating in Eloisa’s bullfighting brother (Fielding). Training Bunny with a bull’s head and a shopping trolley, he sports a fake moustache and one terrible accent – accuracy isn’t high on the agenda, but silliness certainly is.
The cast embrace the strangeness, while the central couple work hard to keep the laughs coming, but their implausible friendship doesn’t always leave room for jokes. In the end, they’re upstaged by Echegui, who improvises in English brilliantly. (One word: Sandwich.)
Cultivating a care-free spirit to partner its daft design, Bunny and the Bull is a unique British oddity. It leaves behind Boosh and seizes the cinema screen, revelling in the widescreen possiblities. Following in the footsteps of Michel Gondry, it’s a blend of surreal vision and wacky wit that’s instantly adorable. But with no real structure and a winding road to cover, the script almost runs out of gas. It stutters and starts occasionally through the second half – fortunately, the off-road route is pretty enough to pass the time.
Bunny and the Bull is available on All 4 until 28th May 2020.