Published Mar 26, 2009Hank and Mike was perhaps meant to be the Bad Santa of Easter films, a foul-mouthed, irresponsible raunch comedy about two costumed Easter Bunnies who, after being fired, attempt to integrate themselves back into regular working society.
The opening scene sets the tone of crude vulgarity; Hank (Thomas Michael) sits in his pink bunny costume, smoke dangling from his mouth, jerking off to scrambled porn on the television. He is the Oscar Madison of this "odd couple." The Felix Ungar of the duo is Mike (Paulo Mancini), the neurotic but conscientious bunny who cares deeply for his job of delivering and hiding chocolate eggs to kids every Easter. When the evil corporate honchos retool their priorities in favour of bottom line efficiency, Hank and Mike get the axe. With varying degrees of comic satisfaction, we watch as the fish-out-of-water duo, still wearing bunny costumes, attempt to perform working class gigs, failing pathetically, the strain causing a rift in their relationship.
It's no surprise to discover the characters of Hank and Mike were born from a short filmed years before. The delightful concept of two crass idiots wearing bunny costumes walking around unassumingly in regular society is a wonderfully absurd visual concept. Unfortunately the film paints everything with that brush, resulting in comic exhaustion much too early.
The film compensates for repetition with its over-the-top, shocking vulgarities. Yes, we even to get to see Hank snorting blow off a woman's tits in close-up, and then screwing her, bunny ears and all, with full R-Rated thrusting. While there's value in subversively twisting the notion of this treasured children's tradition, the comedy never gets deeper than the shallow sight gags.
If anything, Hank and Mike should be a decent career launch for all the key creatives. Thomas Michael and Paulo Mancini individually possess enough warmth in their faces to find better comic roles. Matthiew Klinck's direction is sharp and tonally on the mark. In addition to the well-used talents of name stars Joe Mantegna and Chris Klein, Klinck's camera work maximizes the production value from what likely was a very low budget.
The film may not convert the intended gut-busting laughs but the missed opportunities are tempered with a unique and admirable cinematic and comic hubris. (E1)