I should preface this by noting that I knew nothing about Bunyip the Movie (dir. Gavin Hecker) before I saw it. I didn’t know if it was a documentary, something that was going to keep me on the edge of my seat, or a goofy, weirdo comedy. I can’t remember the last time this happened to me. However, this blindness paid off, as nothing could’ve prepared me for Bunyip the Movie. Those genres were all present in the film and yet, it retained its inability to be categorized.
Bunyip the Movie is, for lack of a less crude word, a mockumentary of sorts. It follows batty and subdued Dr. Nick Jenson (dynamically and hilariously played by Nick Wurlod) and his more batty and less subdued counterpart Lindsay Farland (Alex Ettling) as they struggle to make use of their government-funded grant. The grant is dedicated to the research and potential retrieval of the Australian mythical animal the Bunyip – something not unakin to the celebrity and reverence of the Lochness Monster. Much to the chagrin of the “real scientists,” Dr. Jenson and Lindsay are able to toil away these important funds on a mythical creature when that money could be spent facilitating the continued existence of actual species. Ultimately, Dr. Jenson and Lindsay do find a Bunyip, although he’s not quite what they expect.
Set against the backdrop of dreamy mountains and bodies of water (is it really Australia? I don’t know), presumably the area that Bunyips frequent, comes a comedy sticky with a discomforting originality. For fans of Tim and Eric, Bunyip the Movie not only falls into the awkward line between the doc and the mock, but revels in it — pushing into the absurd when appropriate (or inappropriate, as may be more challenging).
Hecker constantly plays with the question of: Which is more absurd, the Bunyip or those looking for it? The only thing the audience can do is sit down (drug use is optional, but encouraged) and let the competition play out.