It’s mighty bosh
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