Quick, what’s the best way to break bad news? Putting it off for as long as possible and then disguising it as good news, right? And surely it’s not insensitive to relieve awkward situations with a few jokes, is it? Chubby Bunny is a suffocatingly funny dark comedy by Stuart Laws and the excellent Turtle Canyon Comedy. Inspired by a stand-up routine, the story follows the very popular John and Jane, a fun, young couple who work at a youth club, entertaining the kids with their chubby bunny routine.
If you’re unfamiliar with the suggestively titled game, it essentially involves participants shoving marshmallows into their gobs while trying to utter the phrase “chubby bunny” as intelligibly as possibly. The winner is the poor soul who can get the most marshmallows in their mouth while still being able to enunciate the phrase clearly.
John and Jane (the aforementioned Stuart Laws and the absolutely brilliant Sarah Daykin) arrive at an older couple’s home with the news that their child has broken a youth club record, surely something to celebrate. However, there’s some bad news as well, and the joy of the film comes from watching the Sunshine youth club duo attempting to break it to the parents. Chubby Bunny is just over eight minutes, which might seem a tad long for such a simple idea, but in fact the runtime allows a nice, steady build up, where all four actors get a chance to play off each other and deliver some brilliantly uncomfortable dialogue.
John and Jane are the epitome of awkward young couples, the kind of people who meet in school and stay together out of comfort and the fear of being alone. There are obvious cracks in their relationship, tensions that come to a boil without ever really erupting, which is just one of the many layers that’s added to the metaphorical cake of the film. The exchanges between the young couple, particularly when they’re faced with breaking the bad news (which hangs over the whole story like a black cloud) is tragic, hilarious and even kind of adorable, in a horribly sickening way.
The punchline of the film comes around half way through, leaving the rest of story to fester like an open wound. This is glorious, painful comedy, and very British, as John inexplicably makes the scene even more awkward than it has to be, despite silent, anguished pleas from his girlfriend. It’s rare that a short comedy is as funny as this is. The performances, the dialogue and the clever editing all come together to make something truly wonderful and horrible. Chubby Bunny will either make you laugh out loud, or sick to the very core of your soul. Perhaps a combination of the two.