Case Number 14986

HANK AND MIKE

Magnolia Pictures // 2008 // 86 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // November 13th, 2008

The Charge

Pink, annoyed and unemployed.

Opening Statement

Two Easter bunnies find themselves out of a job and must now seek gainful employment in the non-Easter sector.

Facts of the Case

Hank (Thomas Michael) and Mike (Paolo Mancini) have a good thing going delivering eggs for Easter Enterprises. But when they miss a house on their route one holiday, they're fired by the Easter Enterprises president (Joe Mantegna). Meanwhile, a greedy executive (Chris Klein) is scheming to sap the magic and wonder out of the holiday.

So now Hank and Mike are forced to fend for themselves, and try their hands at a variety of jobs that predictably end poorly. The pressure on their lives will eventually take a toll on their friendship, stressing it to the breaking point, and forcing them to re-evaluate their lives and figure out what it is that lurks beneath that pink fur.

The Evidence

I suppose there's a subversive message in here about corporate disenfranchisement and the damage that seemingly ambiguous cutbacks can have on regular people. But really, what's most memorable about Hank and Mike is the fact it's a comedy about two foul-mouthed Easter bunnies that's actually very, very funny.

Apparently, in some circles -- the underground Canadian comedy circuit, I'm thinking -- the Hank and Mike characters are fairly well-known. I had no clue what was in store and it took me a few minutes into the runtime to realize we were dealing with a different world. The gimmick: these guys are actual Easter bunnies, not men in furry suits, and they actually deliver eggs on Easter. The humor originally derived from the juxtaposition of pink bunny suits and the F-word. Needless to say that conceit may have worked decently enough in the original form of Hank and Michael -- one-minute long sketches and a short film -- but a feature film is a whole new beast. Is it possible to prolong that idea for 85 minutes?

I wouldn't have thought so, but these guys pulled it off. Hank and Mike is weird, funny and shockingly coherent -- even downright formulaic at some points. The plot hits the familiar beats of the two best friends having a falling out and hitting their respective low points -- complete with a sad ballad playing over a montage -- the regrouping and getting payback against The Man.

Typically, that tired game plan wouldn't impress me, but despite the familiar narrative framework, there's a whole lot of unique craziness tossed in. This is a world where Easter is run by a corporation and passersby don't look twice on men in bunny suits. This is a world where the newest, most exciting craze is "sponsored suicide." This is a world where a women and pink bunny men have vigorous, sleazy sex. Thankfully, the humor isn't all gimmicks. The script from Paolo Mancini and Thomas Michael is genuinely funny. Foul, sure, but funny.

Probably the most surprising thing about this movie was that it has a heart. There's a romance and a speech about the magic of the Easter season and even a happy ending. Who says comedies about unemployed, drunken Easter bunnies have to be cynical and nihilistic?

The DVD is impressive, sporting a decent 185:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. Lots of extras: Commentary from the filmmakers, a robust making-of documentary, a featurette on the evolution of the Hank and Mike characters, the Hank and Mike short film, deleted and extended scenes, an alternate ending, bloopers, auditions, a photo gallery, posters and a bunch of hidden Easter eggs featuring on-set footage.

Closing Statement

Funny and bizarre, Hank and Mike is unlike any profanity-laden Easter bunny saga you've ever seen.

The Verdict

Not guilty. Here's a carrot.

Review content copyright © 2008 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 85
Audio: 85
Extras: 90
Acting: 85
Story: 80
Judgment: 84

Perp Profile
Studio: Magnolia Pictures
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)

Subtitles:
* Spanish

Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2008
MPAA Rating: Rated R

Distinguishing Marks
* Commentary
* Featurettes
* Deleted Scenes
* Alternate Ending
* Short Film
* Photo Gallery
* Bloopers
* Auditions
* Easter Eggs

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0814131/combined