Kenny

Starring Shane Jacobson, Eve Von Bibra and Ronald Jacobson. Directed by Clayton Jacobson.
Running Time: Rated M
Rated: 103 minutes.
From Australia's biggest festival to the smallest church social, Kenny Smyth delivers porta-loos to them all. Ignored and unappreciated, he is one of the cogs in society's machinery; a knight in shining overalls taking care of business with his faithful 'Splashdown' crew. Kenny tackles every septic challenge that comes his way, culminating in a pilgrimage to that Mecca of waste management, the International Pumper and Cleaner Expo in Nashville Tennessee.

In the style of a fly-on-the-wall documentary, 'KENNY' lifts the lid on one of Australia's roughest diamonds as he juggles family tensions, fatherhood and sewage with charm, humour and unflinching dignity.

I recently saw this film on a plane and I have never heard the captive audience above the clouds laugh as long or as hard.

Given the subject matter, there are some people who could live without seeing this film. It is probably self evident that the script is replete with toilet humour, coarse language and religious cursing. But it would be a mistake to think that Kenny is just another crude, ocker comedy. It raises our consciousness about people who care for us our basic needs, but whom we rarely see and appreciate. As Kenny says, "It takes a certain kind of person to do what I do... No-one's ever impressed; no-one's ever fascinated... If you're a fireman, all the kids will want to jump on the back of the truck and follow you to a fire. There's going to be no kids willing to do that with me. So, I don't do it to impress people - it's a job, it's my trade, and I actually think I'm pretty good at it.'

But the core of the film is the man himself, and Kenny is a thoroughly decent Aussie battler, who is doing it hard at home and at work, but always tries to take pride in his work, himself and his family.

For those of us who like films that simply entertain, Kenny will fill the bill. And between the laughs, Kenny Smyth is a rough and ready philosopher whose take on life is warm and generous.

Fr Richard Leonard SJ is the director of the Australian Catholic Film Office.

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