It’s been a while since the dependable Australian movie industry served up another of the quirky, enjoyable comedies it became famed for in the 1990s. But Kenny proves that there’s no shortage of talent down under, with a well put together marriage of comedy and drama that pays off handsomely.
The film is a spoof documentary surrounding plumber Kenny Smyth, played by Shane Jacobson. Building its character up carefully and diligently, Kenny then takes us through the lows (unpleasant father, equally unpleasant ex-wife, not altogether pleasant job), and then better days. These come when Kenny heads off to the International Pumper & Cleaner Expo in America, and while we won’t spoil what happens here, it’s a well-told, rounded story that emerges.
There are plenty of reasons to like Kenny, and its lead actor is one of the main ones. Shane Jacobson’s performance is strong and engaging, capturing the optimistic outlook of the central character very well. The film is then directed by Shane’s brother, Clayton, and his work too is full of promise. Mock documentaries haven’t been scarce in recent times, yet the two Jacobsons nonetheless carve out a warm and engaging story within the confines of the genre.
Kenny isn’t a film without a couple of problems, and there are a couple of lulls that come with the journey. But it’s a film with a rounded central character who you’ll laugh at, care about, and ultimately, enjoy spending time with. An easy recommendation. —Jon Foster