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Home Reviews LFF LFF: Bunny and the Bull
LFF: Bunny and the Bull Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Friday, 23 October 2009 18:49
Director: Paul King
Cast: Edward Hogg, Simon Farnaby, Noel Fielding, Julian Barrett, Veronica Echegui
Certificate: TBC
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 sexy Spaniard Eloise (Echegui).

Picking her up in Captain Crab's fast seafood restaurant, she's a crazy 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.

Travelling through newspaper blizzards and souvenir snapshots, the world of Stephen's memory is a mind-bending sight. 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, making sweet love to your retinas then sucking pure joy out your eyeballs.

But as Bunny and Stephen roam willy-nilly round Europe, their journey becomes increasingly haphazard. There's time to take in demented tramps (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 choatic, 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 it, ramping up the banter, at home in their strange surroundings. The central couple work hard to keep the laughs coming, but their implausible friendship leaves little room for decent jokes. In the end, they're all upstaged by Echegui's eccentric love interest. Equally exotic and demented, she improvises in English with amazing ability: "Fuck you Pawel! I'm going to chop off your penis and put it in a sandwich!"

Cultivating a care-free spirit to partner its daft design, Bunny and the Bull is a unique British piece. 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 soon runs out of gas. It stutters and starts throughout the second half, and never really gets back on track. Fortunately, the offroad route is pretty enough to pass the time.


A distinctive debut that suffers from Gondry-itis. Cute and curious, Bunny and the Bull may miss your funny bone, but never fails to find your imagination.

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