To call the latest effort from ego-as-artiste Vincent Gallo a bunch of pretentious baloney is an insult to that delicious sandwich meat. The Brown Bunny arrives at the Toronto Film Festival on the heels of a controversial appearance at the 2003 Cannes Fest, where Roger Ebert called it the worst film to screen in the history of that historic film celebration. Is The Brown Bunny the worst film to grace screens in recent memory? Maybe, but to give it such a, in its own weird way, brag-worthy distinction is to give this wafer-thin effort too much credit. But make no mistake — it is in no way a good film. Following the (seemingly endless) journey of speed bike racer Bud Clay (Gallo himself, who, he likes to remind us, also directed, produced, wrote, edited and was the DoP), The Brown Bunny is a road film with heavy emphasis on the road. On his trip from New Hampshire back to L.A. to reunite with his one true love, Daisy (Chloë Sevigny), Clay samples a variety of unusual and unlikely encounters with random women. He makes inappropriate propositions to them, and then moves on, leaving them behind. What The Brown Bunny asks of us is to sit patiently through seemingly endless shots of Clay's bug-splattered windshield and of Gallo's greasy, earnest, "look, I'm deep" close-ups, all in the hopes that the payoff at the end of this journey will make it worthwhile. It doesn't. At the end, he finds that Daisy is not in good shape, and that the tatters of their relationship may be beyond repair. The scene that has made The Brown Bunny such a talked-about affair is also the one that will prevent its wide release or acceptance. Upon his arrival in Los Angeles, there's a protracted — and very real and very explicit — fellatio scene involving Gallo and Sevigny. Thankfully cut down from a near ten-minute version screened at Cannes, this version clocked in at a mere four minutes. Squirm-inducing at any length, apparently the changes also included further clarification that no prosthetics or stunt cutaways were used for the scene. It's an audacious gambit, no doubt. Sevigny is both talented enough, and has fostered enough of an outsider vibe (she used to run with Harmony Korine, after all) that her career won't suffer from this indignity. But for Gallo, whose very title cards garner laughs for their over-the-top acts of rampant egotism, The Brown Bunny may be the last feature he ever releases. But wait… It's too easy to dismiss The Brown Bunny for its absurd dialogue, its improbable character encounters, its egotistical gooey centre, and its interminable pace. But as a work of art, it is actually worth, if not a second look, at least some post-film reflection. Having sat through this road-journey shrouded more in absurdity than character depth, the film's conclusion does provide some insight into what we've been watching. Of course, having let the sands of an audience's goodwill evaporate over the course of its 90-minute running time might mean that few people have lasted long enough to even have this revelation. And a note: the version screened in Toronto was a full 30 minutes shorter than the much-lambasted Cannes version. (Kinetique)