‘Bunny and the Bull’: One-note road trip goes nowhere

  • By Robert Horton Herald Movie Critic
  • Thursday, September 30, 2010 4:43pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

A road-trip movie dunked in artificial coloring, “Bunny and the Bull” is a British film that tries to be different. Shot on false sets with backdrops that are sometimes animated, the movie is taking place in the mind of a shut-in.

This is 30ish Stephen (Edward Hogg), an agorophobe whose home is filled with the carefully ordered, meticulously organized junk of his life. We’ll find out why he fears the world so much when we enter his flashback.

A year earlier, after winning money on a horse race with his boorish, bushy-haired pal Bunny (Simon Farnaby), the two men set out on a trip around Europe. After a few strange but curiously dull adventures, they hook up with a Spanish waitress, Eloisa (Veronica Echegui), who wants to return home for the bullfights.

But Eloisa isn’t really important to the film, except to bring the boys into Spain and drive a wedge between them.

The movie’s about the contrast between the boisterous Bunny, who lives life without over-thinking it (without thinking at all, much of the time) and timid Stephen, who packs for the trip with “31 essentials,” including a small blowtorch and different grades of string. Just in case.

The two actors are certainly well-cast: Hogg has the sallow, withdrawn look of an Edgar Allan Poe hero, while Farnaby’s cloud of blond hair is like his animal energy springing out in all directions.

But after a while you realize the characters are one-note jobs. And while director Paul King’s decision to use whimsical, blatantly false backdrops is initially interesting — and maybe a legitimate way to represent someone’s memory of an event — it soon becomes monotonous.

After a while I began to think that if I was going to watch a movie about a European road trip, I really would like to see some locations while we’re at it. You know, as long as I’m sitting through the thing.

And sitting through “Bunny and the Bull” began to feel like a chore. I have no doubt this movie could find a cult following, because it’s got a screwy, off-kilter mood. But I will not be a member.

“Bunny and the Bull” 1 1/2 stars

An off-kilter British comedy about an agorophobe (Edward Hogg) recalling his European road trip with a boorish, boisterous pal. The trip is rather dull to begin with and after a while the decision to play the material against painted backdrops and artificial sets makes you yearn for a little real location shooting.

Rated: Not rated; probably R for nudity, language

Showing: Northwest Film Forum

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