Control-freak Stephen (Hogg) has holed up in his flat, following a traumatic train journey across Europe with his laddish friend Bunny (Farnaby). As his food runs out and he contemplates leaving for the first time in months, he remembers the chain of events that led to a life-changing night in a Spanish field.
Cult TV show The Mighty Boosh has given us such splendidly silly treats as Old Gregg, a merman with a “mangina”, and the Crack Fox, a vulpine dirtbag with syringe-fingers. Now, with Bunny And The Bull, the team are moving to the big screen. Although, this isn’t the long-awaited Boosh movie, but an unrelated tale from writer-director Paul King, the gifted visualist largely responsible for the show’s cracked, hypercolour look. The lead roles are filled by Edward Hogg and Simon Farnaby, who played the Boosh’s doppelgangers, ‘The Flighty Zeus’, in a series 3 episode, while there are juicy cameos from the show’s frontmen, Noel Fielding and Julian Barratt.
Unsurprisingly, it looks amazing. King doesn’t just have a great eye for surrealist landscapes, but knows the look of funny, too — he did, after all, lens the classic monkey-bike chase in Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace. Here he gets to show off all his lo-fi skills: there are cars made of cardboard, buildings made of clock parts and probably a few sets hewn out of sticky-back plastic.
The impressive effect is reminiscent of Michel Gondry — and so are the themes. Like Gondry’s Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, most of the film is set inside the mind of an emotionally withdrawn man. In this case, the man is Stephen (Hogg), an agoraphobe who won’t leave his flat. As he remembers a fateful journey across Europe with his friend Bunny (Farnaby), events are reconstructed using things he sees lying about his living room or hallway.
Eternal Sunshine, however, didn’t have a scene where a sinister tramp milks a dog, or a central character so lascivious he carries a condom-dispenser clipped onto his belt. Bunny And The Bull manages to tamp down its whimsy with a rich vein of very silly, very British comedy, exemplified by wonderful turns from Fielding (as a drunken matador), Barratt (as the aforementioned tramp) and Richard Ayoade (as the world’s most boring museum guide). So scene-stealing are these special guest appearances, in fact, that they unbalance the film.
That’s a small quibble, though, in a work as charmingly crafted and wilfully daft as any you’ll see this year. Roll on The Mighty Boosh: The Motion Picture.
Heralds the launch of a new big-screen comedy axis to challenge Wright, Pegg and Frost we cant wait to see what King and co. come up with next.