Monday, 9 November 2015

Narrative - Kenny Film Review

Fig. 1. Kenny poster.

Kenny (2006) directed by Clayton Jacobson, who also stars in it (Kenny’s Brother) with his brother Shane Jacobson (Kenny), is a mockumentary that follows the Australian Kenny as he lives out his daily life as a plumber. The film follows the challenges Kenny faces and the discrimination and prejudice that revolves around working with portable toilets.

In this mockumentary we as the viewer are welcomed in to Kenny’s life as he takes us through what is happening, Kenny is the star and kind of the narrator, as he explains what he is doing and carries on living his life as the camera crew are filming. It is a very sincere and sweet mockumentary that puts Kenny through a whole lot of difficult and uncomfortable situations; these include abusive comments from customers, being set on fire (all in the days work for a porta-loo transporter/plumber), a difficult ex-wife and a disappointed father who doesn’t accept Kenny’s choice of career. The mockumentary is set in Australia and involves Kenny delivering and maintaining portable toilets for festivals and events, during these Kenny receives lots of complaints and abuse which makes you instantly feel sorry for him, he is a very likable character. This potentially could be trying to expose the social views of people that work jobs that involve toilets; it paints Kenny as a very enduring and likable person, which shows that a job doesn’t define a person.

It is possible that this mockumentary could be considered to emulate the performative mode of documentaries, this is because the film makers/writers actually star in the mockumentary. However because it is a mockumentary it is a parody so it isn’t factual. Instead it appears that Kenny attempts to reveal social class structure prejudices, by showing the life of an average guy that gets abuse for doing a job that most people would find revolting and not want to do. The mockumentary makes you question why these people deserve to be constructed as lower or insignificant being in the social order, when in reality they do a job that is vital, however unglamorous.

Fig. 2. Kenny still.

Kenny is definitely narrative based, with the delightful lead character playing out the story of his life. The characters are very much fictional however the company that the character Kenny works for is a real company in Australia and the portable toilet convention they go to in the film is also a real event as is the racing car event. It is also quite interesting that the family of Kenny are actually played by the equivalent real life family member, so the actor who plays Kenny’s dad, is actually his dad. All of these make the mockumentary feel more real, which allows you to easily attach yourself to Kenny’s character and buy into the reality of the world they created.

The mockumentary appears to be very successful, but not at mocking, it manages to create a strong everyman character that you can’t help but like and root for. It succeeds in creating a hero from an everyday guy doing a mundane job that is highly discriminated against. If one thing is certain from this touching mockumentary it would be that if more people could emulate Kenny’s behaviour the world would be a much nicer place to live, the humble, thick skinned character has such a positive outlook on life even when the going gets tough. To conclude the mockumentary is a very sincere story about an incredibly likable character that manages to juggle his busy work life with a stressful family life, his persona is charming and he manages to maintain a strong positive outlook on a life that has many hurdles.

Illustration List:
Jacobson, C. (2006). Figure 1. Kenny poster. (Accessed 09/11/2015)

Jacobson, C. (2006). Figure 2. Kenny still. (Accessed 09/11/2015)


  1. Nice choice Charlie....I was just thinking about this film today.

    1. It was a lot of fun to watch, great film and I couldn't help but admire Kenny's charm.