“Kenny” Adds Chuckles to Australian Film Showcase
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
I used to read the British magazine Punch, puzzling over the cartoons. Sometimes Brit humor was hard to get.
You may face the same challenge with Australian humor, some jokes just too droll for brash American funny bones.
That said, “Kenny” – the Aussie comedy that’s playing at the Tropic Cinema as part of a 2009 Australian Film Showcase – still offers more than its fair share of laughs.
Directed by Clayton Jacobson and starring his brother Shane, this is the story of a Melbourne port-a-potty deliveryman by the name of (you guessed it) Kenny.
Told in a mockumentary style, you’ll soon forget that these are actors rather than real working class stiffs.
Kenny talks directly to the audience, humbly explaining his occupation, taking pride in his crappy job. After all, sewage is a serious business.
“It takes a certain kind of person to do what I do ... No one’s ever impressed; no one’s ever fascinated ... If you’re a fireman, all the kids will want to jump on the back of the truck and follow you to a fire. There’s going to be no kids willing to do that with me. So, I don’t do it to impress people – it’s a job, it’s my trade, and I actually think I’m pretty good at it,” Kenny Smyth tells us with the sincerity of a man who is No. 1 in a No. 2 business.
You’ll follow Kenny on his daily rounds, from local septic situations to the Melbourne Cup, and eventually all the way to the Pumper & Cleaner convention in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Kenny” doesn’t always go for the easy poo jokes, yet tosses out enough one-liners that you’ll be rolling in the aisles. Nonetheless, the irony is so subtle you suspect you’re missing a few dribbles of funniness. When he asks a potential client, “Are you serving alcohol, or any hot curries?” – you know there’s underlying potty humor to this straightforward question.
You’ll find Kenny likeable, a decent guy (or should we say bloke?) who faces life with optimism and an innate decency. His family is interesting, from ex-wife to miserable dad to intolerant brother.
A real-life family affair, actors Ronald Jacobson, Shane Jacobson, Clayton Jacobson, and Jesse Jacobson are in fact father, son, son, and grandson.
The amateur camerawork – wobbly hand-held shots, inches-away close-ups – adds a certain element of cinema verité.
Some moviegoers have mistaken “Kenny” for a genuine – albeit funny – documentary.
Ah, those droll Aussies.
[from Solares Hill]