Kenny

Review by Jane Freebury

Shit happens. Kenny and his crew know all about that, because their jobs depend on it.

Kenny (Shane Jacobson) half-heartedly tries to pass himself off as a plumber, but he’s only vaguely interested in what other people think, gives in to the inevitable and admits that his business is portaloos. He works for Splash Down Corporate Bathroom Rentals – more euphemisms, yes, but a real company – a service provider that makes big events possible with umpteen cubicles for the convenience of the public.

Kenny started life as a prize-winning comedy short. Melbourne portaloo company Splash Down provided backing finance for a feature, which is directed by Shane’s brother Clayton. Their own father has a spot as Kenny’s bloody-minded old dad.

As soon as the sun comes out everyone, muses Kenny, has a festival. He and the lads service musical festivals, flower shows, and the Melbourne Cup, and even have to save the loos from being set on fire by the ‘pinheads’ at the drag races. The ensuing fight is shot and edited with a sharp eye for the humour in the situation – like the rest of the movie.

Rarely out of his khaki dungarees, Kenny squarely fills the frame of this funny, touching and original mock doco, as a man comfortable with himself and his lot in life, even if others aren’t. Another inspired Aussie mockumentary with a great central character, like last year’s The Magician.

Sometimes people don’t want to shake his hand – you never know where it’s been – and his own dad makes him strip off his clothes when he visits him at the caravan park.

Kenny gets a raw deal but he just moves unscathed and undeterred from one encounter to the next while those who put him down, like his former wife or an elderly lady all dolled up at the Cup, look silly. Only time I saw Kenny agitated was when someone forgot to load the rolls in the ladies.

Contrary to expectations, there’s hardly a trace of faecal matter in sight. If you’re thinking of the comedy gross-out like Robin Williams standing under a shower of excrement in RV – think again.

The narrative has as many twists and turns as the large intestine, and I think the blonde air stewardess was ill-advised, but it still holds together and Shane Jacobson’s turn as Kenny is full of heart.

4 stars

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