September 25, 2008


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Kenny (PG-13)
An Australian plumber gets no respect as the manager at a port-a-potty company in Kenny, a thoroughly delightful mockumentary.

I want to say up front that I will try to restrain myself from making too many poop jokes in this review but I can’t promise anything.

Kenny Smyth (Shane Jacobson) makes your business his business (sorry) as a manager at Splashdown, a company that rents portable latrines for festivals and other events. Being in the poo business is, Kenny tells us, steady work but it doesn’t exactly earn him the world’s acclaim. His father (Ronald Jacobson) doesn’t quite believe it’s a real job and attempts to badger Kenny into looking for a non-toilet-related gig (a conversation that takes place while a pantsless Kenny wears his dad’s robe and his feet rest on coasters, his father having taken pains to keep Kenny’s perfectly clean jumper and socks from touching any of the household furnishings). His employees can be a handful — one goes on about his complaints while Kenny is cleaning out the inside of a sewage-storage truck that has “a smell in here that will outlast religion.” Even as drunken event-goers stumble out of the port-a-potties that keep them (mostly) from going behind bushes, they take a few moments out to tell Kenny how horrible it is that his young son (Jesse Jacobson) is helping him out. And when his crappy (sorry) job isn’t causing him trouble, his rather soft nature is ensuring that he’s being insulted by his brother (Clayton Jacobson) or run over by his ex-wife.

This bare-bones description of the plot does not do justice to the laugh-til-you-cry pooptastic quality of this utterly charming little comedy. Thanks to subtitles, we get the full force of his Australian accent and phraseology while still getting the gist of what’s going on. Kenny, though appropriately colorful in both dialogue and mannerisms, is usually not the butt (sorry) of the jokes; rather he is the calm voice of reason and gentleness in a world full of jerks (from the employee who refuses to fish a wedding ring out of a toilet to a group of hooligans setting fire to the port-a-loos post-event). Kenny — and Kenny — manages to be thoroughly loveable even as it is wonderfully ridiculous. A-

Rated PG-13 for crude content, language and partial nudity. Directed by Clayton Jacobson and written by Clayton Jacobson and Shane Jacobson, Kenny is an hour and 32 minutes long and is scheduled to open this week at Red River Theatres in Concord. The movie is also scheduled for release on DVD on Sept. 30