A few things that Bunny And The Bull isn’t. Firstly, most obviously, it isn’t a spin-off from The Mighty Boosh. It has the same director, and guest appearances by Noel Fielding as a matador, Julian Barrett as a Hungarian (probably) tramp and Richard Ayoade as a shoe museum tour guide, and it’s not impossible to imagine Fielding and Barrett playing the leads Simon and Bunny in a dimension not quite as good, reversing their appearance as ‘The Fake Boosh’ in that episode of The Mighty Boosh. But that’s where it ends.
Bunny And The Bull is instead a surreal, cartoonish comedy road movie with a heart-warming, tragic heart.
The story is told in flashback. Stephen (Edward Hogg) is in his flat, and doesn’t leave, not ever. Why? Well, twelve months ago Stephen was handsome, sweet, gentle, and obsessive and always in the ‘friend zone’ with girls.
Bunny (Simon Farnaby) was a serial gambler with the occasional lucky streak, the kind of confident, ballsy, mental best mate who takes people like Stephen under their wing from time to time, partly as an act of charity, partly through loneliness and being unhinged.
Following another relationship disaster for Stephen, Bunny persuades him to put fifty quid on a horse ridden by a jockey with an ‘angry face’, and they win. So, it’s off round Europe, and once they’ve picked up a fellow traveller, the beautiful Eloisa (Veronica Echegui), they’re off to Spain, so Bunny can fight a bull.
Written and directed by Paul King, of Boosh, the clever geekery is hugely enjoyable and much of the pleasure. The budget was around a million quid, which most of us would love to have to live on, but would shudder to make a movie with. Hence, almost of it is played against back-projection and drawn backgrounds with stop-motion animation that’s Postman Pat one minute, Gilliam-esque the next.
The score is lovely, spare and haunting. Hogg and Farnaby are terrific, both endearing.
All humour’s subjective, and it’s in-joke heavy, quirky stuff that’s not so much hoping for a cult audience as designed for one, and possibly the wrong one at that.
Bunny And The Bull will not be for everyone. I adored it, utterly and instantly. It’s not as quotable as it could be – nowhere near Withnail levels – although “an angry face!” and “This is Cow” have a whiff of random Facebook statuses for the future.
But it rewards re-watching, and deserves drinking games in its honour and hazy post-pub viewing at three am.
The film is well-presented for DVD with a good, all-encompassing bunch of extras for a single discer. It includes interviews with the director and stars, a comprehensive commentary (the director, the leads, the producer), a making-of, an effects feature, deleted scenes, bloopers, and a featurette with Paul King originally for Empire on the web (hence lower picture quality) where he goes through the making of the movie as per a four page featurette for the magazine (which you can’t really see, and would be nice to have a PDF).
Like the film, quirky, pretty, geeky. Worth your time.
Bunny And The Bull is out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.