20 Apr DVD Review – Kenny
“If we’re asked by some highfalutin ‘pom’ or ‘sepo’ whether Kenny Smythe represents the typical ‘Strayan’, we say “abso-bloody-lutely!” while we post a foodstagram of our Kombucha…”
DVD: Kenny (Mockumentary, 99 minutes, DVD released December 2006)
|Directed by||Clayton Jacobson|
|Produced by||Clayton Jacobson
|Written by||Clayton Jacobson
Eve von Bibra
There are a few reasons why it has taken me so long to finally sit down and watch this film. It’s already been on television; a spin-off series for the Ten network is currently in the works, and the actor who plays Kenny (Shane Jacobson) is already trying to distance himself from the roll (sorry, role).
Kenny is a mockumentary* (when will Microsoft Word acknowledge this word?) about a portable toilet technician (described by director Clayton Jacobson as “the Dalai-Lama of waste management”) who loves what he does for a crust.
Kenny isn’t exactly what I’d call piss-funny (yep, I’m doing this), but there is a ‘solid’ output of comic moments. Kenny Smythe (Shane Jacobson) works for Splashdown (a real-life portable toilet supplier, who were incidentally the films sole financiers) and is followed by a mockumentary crew as he goes about his daily business, which is primarily supplying the toilet facilities for all sorts of major events (everything from Bathurst to the Melbourne Cup).
Through his interactions with the camera and the public, Kenny the dungaree-clad dunny-scrubber comes out looking nobler than you’d imagine (especially at the Melbourne Cup). But arguably this is largely because Australian punters are f*%$ing disgusting. Anyone would look dignified next to obnoxious moles copping a squat in their fascinators.
I hate to get serious in my reviews – this site was created for the purposes of a little light relief for both reader and writer alike – but Kenny is a decent Aussie comedy
Ultimately, Kenny’s message is one we all should consider important enough to impart on ourselves and our little Aussie up-and-comers, that message being what defines you more than anything else (job, income, education, achievements, friends, appearance, material possessions) is the level of respect you give yourself, and others.
As an (at times reluctant) expert on Australian comedy, I can officially conclude… Kenny wasn’t shit.
*Review Update 1: As of 2017, Microsoft Word still refuses to acknowledge mockumentary as a Word. This lack of acknowledgement did nothing to stem the gross oversupply of mockumentary-style TV comedies.
Review Update 2: Re-watched Kenny after an exhaustive 6 year examination of Australian cinema. I pretty much disagree with everything said in this review. Still a 3ish out of 5 (Aussie punters: still gross), but the film absolutely annoys me now. Watching any Australian film annoys me now. And I’ve changed my mind about what I think the filmmakers were trying to say with this film. Kenny is one of the most anti-Australian Australian films I’ve seen (and I’ve pretty much seen them all). Australians aren’t ‘battlers’, we’re a “basket of deplorables” that somehow also manage to retain colonialist attitudes despite our complete lack of class as a nation.
Not only that, Kenny also implies that one can only succeed by adopting an American-style entrepreneurial approach to business and life (remember when we used to hate the ‘sepos’?). Yet, if we’re asked by some highfalutin ‘pom’ or ‘sepo’ whether Kenny Smythe represents the typical ‘Strayan’, we say “abso-bloody-lutely!” while we post a foodstagram of our Kombucha.
So essentially, whatever values define the modern idea of being “Aussie” can be found at the bottom of a Splashdown cubicle (after lunch).