Th!nkFilm // 2007 // 91 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Rafael Gamboa (Retired) // June 8th, 2007
"It's almost a comic book that you're watching, except with real people.
And except that hopefully you have a serious message at some point in this
-- Rafael Riera, writer and director of Bunny Whipped
The above quote, taken verbatim from the audio commentary of this most unfortunate film, should tell you all you need to know about the intelligence that crafted this celluloid abomination. For those of you who have never read a comic book, allow me to paraphrase Mr. Riera's pithy wisdom: "It's almost like a novel, except you can actually see things. And except that hopefully, you have a point to make." How callously stupid.
This movie is supposed to be a witty, irreverent comedy, employing superhero genre satire touched with a dash of good ol' fashioned slapstick. Beneath its cynical and oh-so-humorous exterior, the film is supposed to eventually display its true purpose for existence by leaving us with a heartfelt tidbit of life-enriching advice. The plot: Bob Whipple (Esteban Powell, Little Athens), a sportswriter whose job is narratively irrelevant, is a man who feels that his life is going nowhere interesting -- a theme brilliantly reflected in the film's story arc, which also goes nowhere interesting. When his (and America's) favorite white rap star Crackerjack (Fred Maske, Mexman) is murdered, he takes it upon himself to hunt down the killer by becoming a masked vigilante, The Whip. He gets mildly famous, though the film never bothers to show exactly how. This attracts the attention of his high school crush (Joey Lauren Adams, Chasing Amy; don't ask me how she wound up in this movie), who is an animal rights crusader. She convinces him to save one rabbit, a rabbit so symbolically important that it influenced the title of the movie, and "things start looking up." Then Bob finds out that his prime suspect in Crackerjack's murder, rival rapper Kenny Kent (Laz Alonso, Stomp the Yard), has kidnapped his other ex-girlfriend (Amanda Noret, The Insatiable) -- the one that is not important to the story, because he actually loves and ends up with his high school crush, despite how much he says he loves the other blonde girl.
This is an entirely nonsensical and insipid torture of an experience. It's a lot like that "friend" we all have who thinks he/she is so damn funny and charming, when really everyone wants to clock them something awful every time they open their loud, stupid, drooling, accordion-toothed mouth. There is nothing funny about this movie. Those gags that you couldn't see coming by looking at the DVD cover are hideously mistimed or so poorly executed that you can't even smile at them. The few good ideas this movie has are painfully botched through prolonged overuse, weak acting, awkward writing, or sheer cinematic ineptitude. Scenes do not follow each other in ways that make any sense, the plot is a hopeless mess, and the camerawork is the product of amateurs. Seriously, guys, learn to frame a shot, for the love of all that's holy.
The movie does eventually limp drunkenly to its point, which is, succinctly: "Everything you do is either out of love or fear. Do things out of love, not fear." Really, I can't dismiss this sentimental claptrap any better than Richard Kelly did in Donnie Darko. But at least Mr. Riera does have a message in his movie, unlike empty-headed comic books like Watchmen or DMZ. May the gods bless his soul for finally elevating graphic novels into a worthy art form. Thank you, Mr. Riera. Alan Moore has much to learn from you.
The only things that are worth anything in this movie are the bafflingly short animated sequences that are awkwardly manhandled into serving as scene-to-scene transitions. Despite their poor placement, their obvious quality clashes mightily with the anus scrapings that sandwich them. For these are drawn and animated by the Creepy Baby Arm Animation House, people who actually know what comic books are. They provide fleeting moments of relief, like moist towels pressed briefly onto the parched lips of a man abandoned in Death Valley, left naked and covered in hydrochloric acid and acid-proof fire ants. It is because of these little sequences that I enjoyed the animated menu more than the film itself by enormous orders of magnitude. If this film had been entirely animated in this fashion, even if the craptacular dialogue, acting, and plot had remained intact, it would be exponentially better than it is now.
As it is, this film is not worthy of even being flushed down your toilet. The money wasted in making this movie should have been donated to charity instead of funding such a hopelessly inept, unfunny, and artless project. The court sentences this film to eternal damnation.
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Scales of Justice
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 91 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes
* English Commentary with Writer/Director Rafael Riera and Producer Ty Donaldson
* Spanish Commentary with Writer/Director Rafael Riera and Co-Producer Julian Sanchez
* Theatrical Trailer