Thursday, 14 December 2006

DVD: Kenny

Lowdown: Kenny is a real shit pro, but everybody is shitting on him.
Review:
You'll have to excuse the foul language in this review. Not that I care much about foul language, but in this particular case there's no avoiding it: Kenny is a film about shit.
Kenny is also an Aussie bloke living in Melbourne, whose profession it is to take care of people's shit. His company runs toilet facilities in major events, and Kenny is the one behind the scenes making sure it all works well: the film starts by exposing us, through Kenny, to some rather scientific facts about the qualities of shit and the act of generating it. We see Kenny talking to a potential client running a show and discussing the food and drinks served there (curries, lots of alcohol) in order to analyze the correct blend of toilets.
Kenny is very good at what he's doing: we see him handling some very tough situations at live shows where the state of affairs is in the shits, literally. But through sheer professionalism, a positive attitude and a good spirit Kenny prevails.
The problem with Kenny, though, is that everybody seems to be shitting on him: he's a good guy that's exploited by everybody and receives zero appreciation and credit from society despite all the good he does and despite his achievements. We see Kenny in a series of scenes exposing this problem: no one appreciates what he does for a living, mainly his father who thinks it a disgrace. Things go to the extreme when he's even being condemned to rot in hell, in a scene that exposes Kenny as an atheist; now, for the record, note I'm only bothering to mention this particular bit because it feels contrived and does not really go well with the flow of the rest of the film, raising my suspicions that it was added as a way for the filmmakers to expose their personal views (for the record, I would like you to note this extremely rare case of me saying something that might be interpreted as pro-religious).
The issue of us taking things for granted while not paying enough respect to those giving us those things we take for granted is at the core of this film. We all commit this crime: personally, it took a move to Australia for me to appreciate just how much I owe my parents. Kenny's particular case also made me notice the low status society gives to those of us who do the less glamorous jobs, which also tend to be the toughest ones, at least physically. Australia is actually not that bad in this respect: in Israel, for example, if you're not a lawyer or a doctor you're nothing, probably due to the ongoing Jewish mother pathos.
Overall, Kenny reminds me the most of a relative of his, Borat. Both comedies are shot to look like reality documentaries when in fact they're anything but, and both of them have some gross subject matter that is there to help us pay attention to things to do with ourselves. Both films were also quite successful at the Australian box office, with Kenny being a rather surprise hit for a low budget local film. However, while Borat goes to the very extreme, Kenny is a much more subtle, almost a "for the entire family" film affair. Personally, having found Borat good yet way too extreme, I prefer the Kenny version even though it does not have as much sting.
Best scene: You wait all film long for Kenny to answer back to all those giving him the shits. When that happens, it happens in style - a very suitable conclusion given the subject matter.
Picture quality: Like Borat, this one is made to look rough. I suspect that in this case the roughness is also the result of a low budget: An Australian film shot in Melbourne cannot compete with Hollywood's production qualities.
Sound quality: Quite poor, but on some scenes the music provides some nice surround envelopment.
Overall: 3.5 turds.

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