It’s mighty bosh

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews - DON­ALD CLARKE

FIRST THINGS first. This ir­ri­tat­ing, shape­less – though un­de­ni­ably imag­i­na­tive – project is not quite the first Mighty Boosh film. True, di­rec­tor and writer Paul King did man the me­ga­phone for that sur­real BBC TV se­ries and, yes, the pic­ture does fo­cus on a slightly fey man with dark hair and a larger, more north­ern bloke with curlier locks. But Booshites Noel Field­ing and Ju­lian Bar­rett are rel­e­gated to mi­nor roles, leav­ing the rel­a­tively un­known Ed­ward Hogg and Si­mon Farn­aby to play their ap­par­ent avatars.

One as­sumes the film-mak­ers would be de­lighted to hear that their pic­ture de­fies easy sum­mary. It be­gins in para­noid ter­ri­tory with Stephen Turn­bull (Hogg), an ap­par­ent ago­ra­pho­bic, star­ing mis­er­ably at a cup­board of ready meals in his scruffy Kings Cross flat.

Shaken up by an in­va­sion of mice, Stephen re­calls a dis­as­trous jour­ney he made through Europe with a boozy gam­bler named Bunny (Farn­aby). Along the way, they squab­bled over an equally ec­cen­tric Span­ish girl (Veron­ica Echegui), en­coun­tered a shaky for­mer mata­dor (Field­ing) and a scary Rus­sian layabout (Bar­rett).

The real frus­tra­tion of Bunny is that the ideas be­hind it are sound. Shun­ning the Hol­i­day on the Buses aes­thetic (the same as the show, but longer and more for­eign) that still dogs adap­ta­tions of Bri­tish TV come­dies, King’s film em­braces the home-made fan­tasias of Michel Gondry to cre­ate its own car­pet-lined, Dadaist uni­verse. Many of the in­te­ri­ors are cosily beau­ti­ful, and the land­scapes have the nutty, paste­board charm of an Oliver Post­gate chil­dren’s epic.

Sadly, pulling too many traits and ges­tures from With­nail and I, the main char­ac­ters bathe in an an­noy­ing anti-cool that most youths grow out of shortly be­fore com­plet­ing pu­berty. Nei­ther main ac­tor is over-en­dowed with charm, and the ram­shackle na­ture of the plot is rarely en­livened by any­thing ap­proach­ing a de­cent joke.

In short, a cult film that will strug­gle hard to find a cult.

BUNNY AND THE BULL Di­rected by Paul King. Star­ring Ed­ward Hogg, Si­mon Farn­aby, Veron­ica Echegui, Noel Field­ing, Ju­lian Bar­ratt, Richard Ayoade 16 cert, Queen’s, Belfast; Cineworld/ IMC Dún Laoghaire, Dublin, 101 min

The not-so-cud­dly Bunny

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