Greg the Bunny: Best of the Film Parodies

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Greg the Bunny: Best of the Film Parodies Review


It's an old story. Cult fave public access show about a rather profane bunch of puppets moves to the Independent Film Channel, gets picked up for a sitcom deal on Fox that (almost) makes it through a whole season before being cancelled, and then returns in some abbreviated form to IFC again where they make short films parodying independent films. Or at least films the creators like. Unfortunately, the new two-disc collection Greg the Bunny: The Best of the Film Parodies is not so much a return to gritty form as it is a reminder of the Fox show's off-key genius. Dare it be said that a Fox sitcom was more groundbreaking than a no-holds-barred IFC production? Dare, dare.

The Fox sitcom had the advantage of an actual story, with Greg the Bunny playing the accidental star of a children's show populated by a sub-Sesame Street cast of puppets playing out a range of backstage clichés, from the washed-up B-film-actor (Blah, a cut-rate version of Henson's The Count who claims he was first) to the drunken slumming Shakespearean thespian (a small, fat, belligerent ape named Warren). Once it was canceled, Fox kept rights to most everything about it, so the only things which the creators were able to bring back to IFC were the names and voices of the main three characters (Blah, Greg, and Warren). Even the puppets themselves had to be left behind - one imagines their plastic eyes gathering dust in some Fox vault - the new ones are definitely mangier looking, in keeping with the new series' ultra lo-fi, ad-hoc aesthetic. The story line now, as put in the mock A-Team credits sequence, is that Greg & Co., looking for work after getting cancelled, are freelance parodists, willing and able to mock any "independent" film, anyhow, anywhere. The list of fourteen 15-minute parodies is less a roster of indie films than it is a roll-call of cineaste faves, everything from Annie Hall to 2001 to Easy Rider.

Parody has a short shelf-life, as Warren blurts at the director during one of the shorts, "It's 2005, man, why are we doing a Pulp Fiction parody?" It's a fine point and not easily answered. Satire is rarely the true direction of these shorts anyway, which mostly involve playing off the juxtaposition of Greg (cute, naïve, easily manipulated) and Warren (bellicose, sodding alcoholic) as they shamble their way through barely-there scripts. In between sending up their assigned film, the puppets bicker with the crew, who seem to be shooting each short in the same ratty New York apartment.

There are some artier attempts, such Ya Know, For Kids, a sort of mondo, all-purpose, epic slice of Coen brothers imitation, and Martin Serum Seven From Mars, an Ed Wood pastiche and DVD-extra mockumentary. Unfortunately, the show loses itself too often in juvenilia relying more on R-rated puppet misbehavior (cute little Greg doing a porn movie with human girls, for instance) than the cleverness that only rears its head on occasion, and then mostly in the deleted scenes. Puppets with sex drives, drug habits, and handguns will get automatic laughs, but that will only take a show so far, especially one that feels the need to parody The Godfather. Again.



Facts and Figures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: , Spencer Chinoy, Dan Milano

Producer: Spencer Chinoy, Dan Milano

Also starring:

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