Bunny Whipped (2007) / Comedy
aka Love, Fear and Rabbits
MPAA Rated: R for sexual humor, crude humor, and language
Running time: 91 min.
Cast: Esteban Powell, Laz Alonso, Ike Barinholtz, Joey Lauren Adams, Brande Roderick, Eric Edelstein, Rebecca Gayheart, Tony Longo, Amanda Noret, Fred Maske, Chad Foushee, Morgan Rhodes, Richie Frahm (cameo)
Director: Rafael Riera
Screenplay: Rafael Riera
Review published May 1, 2007
Esteban Powell (Powder, Hysteria) stars as sports writer Bob Whipple, still sulking from losing the love of his (now ex-)girlfriend, Jennifer (Noret, The Insatiable). After the murder of the country's most popular rapper, Cracker Jack (Maske), Whipple dons a mask and costume, becoming an overnight sensation as a new vigilante superhero, The Whip. With the guidance of his old high school girlfriend, Ann (Adams, The Big Empty), Whipple is slowly getting his act together, just in time to take on the hip hop sensation, Kenny Kent (Alonso, Stomp the Yard), who is suspect #1 in the Cracker Jack murder, due to the latter's constant dissing of Kenny's music.
Rafael Riera writes and directs this low budget comedy, which combines several popular genres -- hip hop, superheroes, and romantic comedies -- and does absolutely nothing with them. What he does have is a cast of gifted comedic performers, as well as a bevy of beautiful actresses, but none of them are enough to distract from the fact that Riera is filming without a clear idea of what he has in mind.
For instance, the main character of the film, Bob Whipple, starts off as a sports writer, but hardly anything is done with that angle at all. Sometime later, we see him acting out the part of a masked vigilante, without any explanation as to why. He even becomes the masked superhero, The Whip, but divulges his true identity to the public, thereby making the disguise irrelevant. He doesn't even have any superpowers, and without any clear motivation for his actions, it's a plot point that serves only the purpose of keeping momentum just for the sake of having momentum, while a little thing like direction and a defined destination are all but completely gone from the equation.
Somehow, there is a tie-in between Whipple and bad-ass rapper Kenny Kent, who comes off like some sort of two-bit Rick James-looking wannabe rather than anything one might see in reality in the world of rap. Why a sports writer would have any impact on the career of a music maker is beyond my ability to explain, and it must be beyond Riera's as he assumed a media connection without tying them together.
Meanwhile, somewhere in the middle of the film, we're introduced to superfluous supporting characters like Whipple's old flame, an animal rights activist named Ann, and Rebecca Gayheart (Pipe Dream, Jawbreaker) makes an appearance as some sort of beauty queen (Miss Most Awesomely Awesome Woman). It's hard to discern just what function these characters serve to the conflict between The Whip and Kenny Kent, but it might be a safe assumption to conclude that their characters were either written in when these actresses became available just to have them in the film, or their inclusion represents a different direction that the film had been going before that aspect of the story was scrapped in favor of the hip hop and superhero plot.
With absolutely no point to make, or reason to exist, Bunny Whipped (even the title is practically meaningless. True, it does have a random subplot involving the saving of a rabbit, as well as a Playboy Bunny in Playmate of the Year 2001, Brande Roderick -- but they are far from the main focus, if one can say the film has a focus at all. It's little more than conglomeration of disjointed scenes only amusing for some occasionally ad-libbed gags by a cast that deserves a better playground for which to dish out their shtick. Deleted scenes are on the DVD, but they bear almost no difference from the kind of material that makes the final cut.
Riera's film is the culinary equivalent of grabbing several random items out of the refrigerator and stuffing them into a blender, and pressing the button marked "whip". The result: nearly inedible goop. I think I know where Riera pulled this Bunny out of (hint: it wasn't his hat).
©2007 Vince Leo