“Russ, an adorable puppy, wants to be the Easter bunny this year but has to contend with his family who thinks that dogs should be dogs and not bunnies!”
-DVD description for “An Easter Bunny Puppy”
I have no idea where the description from the back of the DVD came from but we can all just throw it out the window because that is in no way what Mary Crawford’s, “An Easter Bunny Puppy” is actually about. Yes, Mary Crawford, the master of misdirection, has done it again. If you know anything about his films you can probably guess that the dog featured on the DVD cover above is not, in fact, the dog from the movie. It’s not even the same dog as the one on the BACK of the DVD case.
To be fair, at least the dog shown on the back is the actual dog from the movie, so they’re improving somewhat. Still, they couldn’t use a picture of the ACTUAL dog for the front of the DVD? Or at least get a description that even somewhat resembles the actual plot of the movie? I know, I expect way too much out of Mary Crawford. At this point, I should really know better. This is the fifth Mary Crawford film I’ve reviewed. I know exactly what I’m in for when I pop one of these movies in.
OR SO I THOUGHT.
That’s right, “An Easter Bunny Puppy” isn’t your run-of-the-mill Mary Crawford nonsense, oh no. This movie is Mary Crawford’s magnum opus: the culmination of years of work and study, all leading up to this brilliant piece of film. Why, you may ask? It’s simple:
MARY CRAWFORD GOES META.
Yes, “An Easter Bunny Puppy” is Mary Crawford’s defensive explanation of his film-making style to his online critics. Read any review of his films (including mine) and you’ll see a number of issues that crop up time and time again. Well, Mary Crawford decided to make a film in which EACH AND EVERY SINGLE ONE of these issues is addressed. They’re not even intelligently addressed; a character literally explains everything to the audience as we watch.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we discuss the epic brilliance of this film, let’s get a quick summary of the plot out of the way.
Jennifer (played by Mary Crawford’s idea of America’s sweetheart, Kristine Debell) is a mystery writer who’s just been instructed by her publishing company to write a children’s book. The name of the book is, you guessed it, “An Easter Bunny Puppy”. The publisher even faxes over the cover image of the book for inspiration:
Mary Crawford has finally given a reason as to why the dog on the cover of the DVD doesn’t match the dog in the movie. He’s evolving, I’ll give him credit for that.
Also, look at that ridiculous wig on poor Kristine Debell. Are mystery writers not allowed to be blonde or something??
With the DVD cover expertly explained away, we return to Jennifer, who’s at a loss. She’s a mystery writer, not a children’s book author. She enlists her daughter, Lucy, to help her act out the scenes she creates because this is apparently the only way she can write (one wonders who acted out the theft and murder scenes from her mysteries). Aiding Lucy is their dog Russ, voiced by what sounds to be an 8-year old boy.
Pretty sure Jennifer is just screwing with Lucy at this point to get a good laugh.
In the middle of puppy-bunny role play, Lucy answers the door in full bunny costume to be greeted by their new next-door neighbors: Single mom Beth and her attractive son Jake. Lucy is sufficiently mortified, and later explains it away to Jake by saying that the girl in the bunny costume was her twin sister, Marion. For some insane reason Jennifer goes along with this, and a large portion of the film revolves around Lucy trying to play both roles without Jake finding out.
Mary Crawford tried on this one, he really did.
That’s not the WHOLE plot though, oh no. There’s an awkward subplot where Jake’s father is in prison for stealing a faberge egg, though everyone knows he’s innocent. Beth and Jake invite Jennifer and Lucy (and Marion, of course) to come up to a lakeside cabin for an annual Easter-egg hunt. The four head off the the lake (with an exceptionally long establishing shot of a random car driving through the mountains) where more drama ensues. It turns out that Beth’s friend Courtney* was the real culprit behind the egg theft, and buried the valuable item somewhere on the property until he could return to retrieve it. There’s a big showdown over the egg after Russ digs it up, with the good guys winning out in the end.
*Just for the sake of clarification, Courtney is a man, played by the same actor who portrayed the dopey businessman in “A Pony Tale”. Pretty sure Mary Crawford has a revolving cast consisting of about seven actors.
Based on that description, it sounds like there’s quite a bit going on in this film, no? It certainly sounds more action-packed than some of Mary Crawford’s other movies, that’s for sure. Of course, if you’ve been reading these posts you should know by now that all Mary Crawford films have a certain flair for the outlandish and downright absurd. “An Easter Bunny Puppy” is no exception; in fact, it raises the bar to new heights with its self-referential commentary and awkward, out-of-place plot points.
Here’s just a small sprinkling of the chaos this film offers.
1) Within 30 seconds of the film starting, I knew this was going to be something different. Russ the dog explains to us right off the bat that the dog on the cover isn’t the same as the dog in the movie. This is well before we see how the cover is incorporated into the story. Instead, he just comes right out and says nope, they’re different dogs.
2) Even better is how he feels the need to explain how we can hear him speak, and how he is talking without moving his mouth:
“You may be wondering how can I talk without moving my lips? Well, it’s quite simply really. You’re reading my mind because for the next 90 minutes you all possess the power of telepathy, which means you can read my thoughts. But that only applies to you guys, not the humans yo are about to see.”
…Wow. Mary Crawford pulled out the telepathy card. Why didn’t he just come out and say, “I didn’t feel like photoshopping the dog’s mouth in this one”? The entire film feels defensive from the get-go.
3) The meta comments continue as Jennifer’s publisher explains the parameters of her next book: “Just make sure it takes place at Easter…because holiday stories sell”.
“A Halloween Puppy”
“A Christmas Puppy”
“An Easter Bunny Puppy”
Are you telling us you’re just in it for the money, Mary Crawford? I thought you were an ARTIST.
4) The defensiveness continues with nearly every line spoken in the film. There’s a rant about the Easter Bunny and why the concept doesn’t make any sense; there’s a similar rant about Rudolph and his glowing nose; there’s even a point where Jennifer exclaims, “I don’t understand why you’re trying to make sense of a fantasy. Just use your imagination”.
If this is not Mary Crawford’s giant F*** you to the critics of his films, I don’t know what is. I fully believe this film was made after Mary Crawford stayed up late one night, drunkenly reading Amazon reviews of his movies, not understanding why nobody gets his genius. Never has one of his films been so aggressive in attacking the critics. Was he living in a bubble prior to this, never realizing how his movies were being perceived? It almost makes you feel bad.
Then the film makes a poop joke and the feeling passes.
5) The little boy playing Russ has clearly never seen the script before the moment he began reading his lines. Words are mispronounced, he stumbles over phrases, and the whole thing just feels awkward. He’s the kid in class reading a book report he didn’t write. The best part is that the whole time Mary Crawford seems to refuse to re-shoot. The first take is the only take, so for better or worse it’s what you’re getting.
6) Every single establishing shot used in past movies is used in this one. As though those weren’t enough, there’s also not one, but two ridiculously long “montage” shots of characters milling about doing not much of anything. The first shows Jennifer and Lucy dying Easter eggs, without any sort of dialogue. This scene lasts an incredible 4 1/2 minutes. Of course to be fair, the shot is only about 2 minutes; it’s just set on a loop so that we have to watch the same thing twice. The second involves all of the characters hunting for Easter eggs (although hunting is a bit too strong of a word, since they’re literally just tossed on the ground within 2 feet of one another; still, some characters manage to miss a few). We also get this wonderful image of Lucy creeping on Jake hardcore from behind a tree:
The Easter egg hunt lasts a staggering 6 minutes 20 seconds (and believe me, it feels so much longer than that). As with the egg-dying scene, this one repeats the same short scenes over and over.
What’s even better is that the film ADDRESSES this. At the end of the hunt, Jake and Lucy are walking down a path (the second time we’ve seen this same shot) and Jake says, “Whoa, deja vu”.
MARY CRAWFORD I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU ADDRESSED THIS IN YOUR MOVIE.
Not that any actual explanation is given, but at least with “An Easter Bunny Puppy” we finally have confirmation that Mary Crawford knows exactly what he’s doing; he just doesn’t care.
At one point, THIS happens. Yes, that’s two teenage boys dressed up as a bunny and a dog, respectively. I’m not even going to provide context on this one, because there is absolutely no explanation that could make this scene logical.
8) Mary Crawford films have always had an air of thinly-veiled eroticism about them, but this time the movie actually outright addresses an “adult” concept, with this exchange between Jennifer and Lucy:
Jennifer: “Before I met your father, I was almost a bunny. And trust me, guys don’t find that a turnoff.”
Lucy: “Mom, what are you talking about?”
Jennifer: *awkward pause* Nothing, nevermind. You will never be a bunny.”
If you’re not thinking “Playboy bunny” after reading that, you are too pure of heart to be reading this blog.
9) Russ the dog (who basically doesn’t nothing the entire movie) at one point makes up a song, which he proceeds to sing throughout the rest of the film:
“I am an Easter Bunny puppy
Pooping out Easter bunnies.
See I made a funny.
Hippity hoppity woof.”
First off, I don’t exactly understand how you poop out an Easter bunny, nor do I care to picture that. Also, I’m 99% certain the little boy voicing Russ just made up this song on the spot and they left it in.
10) ) Russ is a treasure trove of snarky, ridiculous one-liners, including but not limited to:
“I want to die.”
“Eating homework paper is the equivalent to eating rice cakes.”
“I don’t want to watch this, and yet I can’t seem to look away.” (A.k.a. how I feel about all of these movies).
Also, I’m in the double-digits with this list already with no end in sight. Kill me now.
11) Throughout the film Beth slowly loses her voice. She’s fine in the first scene, but by the next she can hardly be understood. She works through the rest of the movie barely croaking out her lines, before finally explaining over an hour into the film that she’s coming down with Laryngitis. Then, in the very next scene her voice is back to normal!
Continuity matters, Mary Crawford. Just sayin’.
12) The climax of the film reveals that Courtney is the real bad guy, and we finally get to see this famed egg (supposedly worth 10-20 million dollars) that’s been at the crux of the story.
Clearly that is a priceless work of art and not a dollar-store plastic egg with rhinestones glued to it.
Also, I laughed at Beth’s face for a solid five minutes, not gonna lie.
13) We’re supposed to sense dramatic tension in this scene because Courtney shows up with a gun pointed threateningly at the family. First off, why is there a gun in a cute little talking animal movie? Before I can figure that out though, Russ runs in and trips Courtney, causing him to drop the gun and giving Jennifer a window of opportunity.
KRISTINE DEBELL HAS A GUN. I REPEAT, KRISTINE DEBELL HAS A GUN.
This movie took the BEST possible turn.
And again, BETH’S FACE.
14) Are you ready for the best part? The film ends with what is by far the greatest line ever spoken in cinematic history. Yes, EVER. The life-changing line is delivered by none other than the Easter bunny puppy himself, Russ, after he stops the bad guy:
“Okay, don’t all thank me at once. That’s right, I’m the Easter bunny puppy, punk. Deal with it. Hippity Hoppity woof. Peace Out.”
I ‘d like that quote printed on my gravestone when I die, please and thank you. All that’s missing is the mic drop.
On top of all of the brilliant chaos mentioned above, we still get many of the great Mary Crawford classic tropes we’ve come to know and love:
-The scenes are shot at the same houses as every other film, complete with half-car seat and weird red-boot wearing driftwood statue.
-The characters’ discussions make absolutely zero sense (in their world, apparently “The Wizard of Oz” is a holiday movie)
-Every scene has an erotic undertone to it, no matter who is involved.
-The stock music is the exact same soundtrack as every other movie. Even more, the songs never line up with the start or end of a scene, or anything that’s happening. A CD was put on with a bunch of songs, and they just play on repeat throughout the whole movie.
-Small errors are left in the film because apparently nobody thought we’d notice (ie: Russ spends the whole movie wearing a dog tag that clearly lists his real name as “Tess”).
Of course, it’s all of these points that make me absolutely love these films. I’m still shocked that Mary Crawford actually addresses his critics with this movie, but it made it all the more hilarious. At times the dialogue is outright defensive, and at others the film just double-downs on the absurdity, as though Mary Crawford read a critique and was like, “Oh yeah, you don’t like that? Well in my next movie I’m going to do that TWICE AS MUCH”.
“An Easter Bunny Puppy” has surpassed all others to become my favorite Mary Crawford film to date. The self-referential commentary, coupled with the simultaneously awkward yet pedestrian storyline and numerous shortcomings, made this movie an absolute joy to watch. I don’t recommend diving into the world of Mary Crawford with this one; no, this is for advanced viewers only, those lucky few who know and love his work well enough to be able to appreciate the brilliance of the commentary the movie makes. Still, if you’ve made it down the rabbit hole and survived so far, give “An Easter Bunny Puppy” a try. It’s an instant classic.
Hippity hoppity woof.