My Life As A Bus Stop

My Life As A Bus Stop


Reviewed by: Chris

I watched the first five minutes of My Life As A Bus Stop in sheer delight. At last, I thought, here is some original, side-splitting Scottish humour. Our characters all want to get into filmmaking and - shame! - no one is recognising their self-proclaimed talent. Trudy is the well-spoken larger lady who wants to make a film about larger ladies. Luna Sea (lunacy - geddit?), who sounds as if he just fell off the bus from a suburb where no-one uses words of more than one syllable, is her lodger and flatmate. Luna Sea is an aspiring (as opposed to inspiring) actor who writes his own scripts. Luna's dad is a rock 'star'. Marlene is a young, relatively normal girl aspiring to be an actress but who also can't get a part for love or money. Although Luna claims she will sleep with anyone who offers her one. Lastly there's Vic (played by director Duncan Finnigan) who is a wacky would-be producer. Vic will even sleep with Trudy if he thinks she will fund his project.

The characters are, intentionally, all grotesque caricatures. Luna, although seemingly short on brain cells, nevertheless has the street-smarts to con Trudy. All of them con themselves into thinking they are endowed with great artistic flair. They look down on anyone else in the business who refuses to support their inflated egos. Even a chap from the Edinburgh International Film Festival gets short shrift when he comes into the pub where Luna works (I'm reviewing the film for its premiere at the festival and cringe slightly - Luna is not someone I want to meet on a dark, damp street late at night!)

Copy picture

But what works brilliantly as a short sketch falls into difficulties as a feature film. Most of the movie is made up of relatively unconnected incidents in the lives its protagonists. An ingenious con - where Vic gets a man with learning difficulties to be abusive to Trudy - works quite well, even if you find it politically incorrect in retrospect. And Luna's dad is full of surprises, emphasising that the oddball people in this film are remarkably different and all interesting in themselves. But Luna's endless attempts at his 'bus stop' sketch, the pulled faces and whining about not being appreciated can easily begin to irritate more than amuse.

Where this mockumentary feels unsteady is that the caricatures are pushed too far with insufficient material. Although there are no doubt housing estate wannabees like Luna, or clueless acting teachers such as the one at his class, the film fails to connect to the idea that today there are myriad highly trained, aspiring actors, directors and producers. People with masters degrees in film studies who aren't offered jobs.

This would not be a problem as far as our film goes if there were sufficient humour to fill another hour and half. But once the initial idiosyncrasies have been absorbed, the film becomes repetitious and some contrast would have been welcome. Intellectually-challenged characters can be amusing for a short time but the entertainment value wears thin without a suitable foil. Developing Marlene more, for instance, could have provided a funny man's straight girl for the main players to bounce off (a standard device for this type of pleasurable craziness). The unbelievable ending, although providing a welcome change of tone, is too convenient and comes too late.

My Life As A Bus Stop is one of those oddities without which no film festival would be complete. There is some inventive photography and gratuitously touristy shots of Edinburgh's castle. Whether you want to give Luna, Trudy, Marlene and Vic your hard earned cash at the box-office will be another matter. I think I'd rather buy the Big Issue. The characters do have an undeniable charm. Luna Sea's face is worryingly burnt into my brain. But isn't fun poked at overweight people and mentally retarded people a bit offensive? It's a film I hate to like. I can't make up my mind. Missing the bus could be the default option. In which case I'll probably end up buying it on DVD next year.

Reviewed on: 14 Aug 2007
Share this with others on...
Five friends attempt to make a movie together, but they each have very different ideas about what they want.

Director: Duncan Finnigan, Wilma Finnigan

Writer: Duncan Finnigan, Wilma Finnigan

Starring: John Stewart, Angela Coates, Duncan Finnigan, Eleanor Capaldi, Marc Watson

Year: 2007

Runtime: 98 minutes

Country: UK


EIFF 2007

Search database: