Starring Shane Jacobson. Rated 14A. Opens Friday, April 4, at the Ridge Theatre
Ever wonder who takes care of the crap in everyday life? No, not in any metaphorical sense, but actual fecal matter. Kenny Smyth knows. He’s an Australian port-a-potty engineer who carries outhouses wherever he goes—cleaning them, keeping them flowing, and trying to keep drunken yahoos from setting them on fire.
The above is all in a long day’s night for Kenny, a bearded, bearlike Melbourne man with a lisp and a heart of liquid gold. This we discover while following him around from rally to rave to racetrack, alongside visits with the son he occasionally sees and the father who is less than thrilled to see either of them (he calls Kenny a “glorified turd burglar”).
Don’t feel bad if you haven’t figured out by now that this is a mockumentary from the Christopher Guest school, Down Under Division (hence the sometimes necessary subtitles). Kenny is played by Shane Jacobson, and extra verisimilitude is added by the fact that his father and son are played by the real things (Ronald and Jesse Jacobson, respectively). In fact, this olfactory family affair was directed and cowritten by music-vid veteran and Shane’s brother, Clayton Jacobson, who also plays Kenny’s uptight older brother.
Much of the film is played for laughs, and giggles come easily when toilet humour is this available and, uniquely, appropriate. But it’s mixed with memorable Aussie aphorisms (“There’s a smell in here that will outlast religion”). There’s also an easygoing emotional side that deepens as Kenny moves along. This is especially evident after the scene shifts to the Pumper and Cleaner Expo in Nashville, Tennessee, and our divorced mop-up man makes a tentative connection with a good-natured flight attendant (Eve von Bibra). I can confidently say that no matter what happens at the box office, this will be the number-two movie of the year.