Kenny

 
Directed by: Clayton Jacobson
Written by:Clayton Jacobson, Shane Jacobson
Starring: Shane Jacobson, Eve Von Bibra, Ronald Jacobson, Jesse Jacobson, Chris Davis, Ian Dryden
Released: August 17, 2006
Grade: A-

Kenny Smyth (Shane Jacobson) is a decent, hard-working Melbournian who loves his job.  He treats his fellow employees with respect, does whatever he can to please his customers and puts in the long hours when needed.  So what job provides such satisfaction, you ask?  Kenny works for Splashdown, a business which rents portable toilets for use at outdoor concerts, carnivals and sporting events.

Kenny is a feel-good Australian film which looks at a simple man who loves life and provides a hilarious insight into the “poo industry”.  Creators Shane and Clayton Jacobson have craftily mixed fiction and reality in generating the story.  Kenny Smyth is a fictitious character but the Splashdown business actually does exist.  In fact, the owner of Splashdown provided all the funding for this low-budget film.

There are two elements to Kenny that make it very enjoyable.  The first is poo.  I can’t believe how many funny jokes there are to be made about the subject.  I’m not talking about fart jokes (which lace many American comedies) but rather the humour in dealing with shit (literally) every day.  Most of the situations in which Kenny finds himself are based on actual stories from the real Splashdown crew.  If you think a blocked toilet is as nasty as it can get, then think again.

The second element is its true-blue, good nature.  Kenny Smyth reminds me of Darryl Kerrigan in the 1997 Australian comedy, The Castle.  He epitomises Australian culture with his no nonsense actions and his comical sayings.  He’s the kind of guy who would make you feel better, no matter how bad your dad has been.

The film climaxes with Kenny’s first overseas trip.  He’s asked to go to the International Pumper & Cleaner Expo in Nashville, Tennessee (which he calls “Poo HQ”).  There, Kenny’s eyes are opened to a world of toilet technology that he never imagined.  His agreeable personality endears him to everyone he meets.  In keeping with the film’s documentary style, these scenes were shot at the actual expo in Nashville.  By the end, I almost believed that Kenny was real.

It’s not easy for small Australian films to find success at the box-office.  Their marketing budgets can’t compete against those of American blockbusters and their success is determined largely by word of mouth.  I’m off to start the ball rolling…