Puppetry of the Penis
Music Video Distributors // Unrated // $19.99 // July 2, 2002
Review by Phillip Duncan | posted August 16, 2002
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R E V I E W S
Graphical Version
Australians Simon Morley and David Friend are now making quite a good living by playing with their penis'. Not porn stars, they are a strange combination of performing artists and comedians that perform a stage act that contains no sexual content, but a right good amount of male nudity. Currently all the rage in LA, this documentary (entitled Tackle Happy) is the companion piece to the theater tour and book.

Conceived originally as a 12-month calendar in Australia, it evolved into a stage show / comedy act that was taken on the road. Starting in small theaters in Sydney, the group met with opposition from club and theater owners that were scared of prosecution by police. Despite being sold out and heavily promoted on radio, several shows were cancelled.

The video is a documentary of the start of the tour and shows only clips of the actual performances. But along the way you get to see the tricks while skydiving, scuba diving, and in just about every other venue. Along the way you get to see the fights and the lack of money. It's truly a low budget operation all the way and it's a wonder that has taken off the way it did, considering the slow start.

As the tour nears completion they start to slowly run out of money. Forced into strip clubs and other less than desirable venues, they find it hard to make any money and often spend it in the bars when they do. Simon is picked up from drunk driving (without a license, no less) and has to go to jail overnight. The dilapidated VW bus that has barely made it through the tour is taken home on the train with them after making it through bush fires and swollen creeks. All in all it's an interesting look at two guys trying to do something they enjoy despite the odds being stacked against them. They partially succeed and watching them is half the fun.

The Video: Being a typical documentary, the video isn't the best of condition. At times the live performances are hard to see due to poor lighting and distance. Given the situation of the tour, it's a wonder they had anyone to film anything in the first place. The full-screen video is grainy and hard to see at times but the few scenes of the Australian countryside look wonderfully bright and rich.

The Audio: Nothing amazing, which is standard for a documentary. It's a capable stereo mix. The audio for the shows at times is hard to hear and understand, but you're not really listening to this one anyway.

Extras: There's not much on the disc but for the adventurous types there are 5 instructional segments from the book. Each one lets you practice at home-or wherever-the tricks that were shown in the film. For those that could care less about the trials and tribulations that Simon and David went through on tour and the history behind the show there is a Jump to Tricks section. All the tricks are index and a simple push of the remote jumps you straight to the naughty bits.

Overall: Not for the faint of heart or the non-adventurous types, Tackle Happy is a hilarious look at what it takes to tour on the road and literally show off your stuff.


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