There was a time a documentary was like a pirate movie – nobody made them. But to this day we have Michael Moore to thank for the popularity they’re still enjoying.
The other reason they’re still hot is because the format is tailor-made for the digital age. When all you need is a handycam and an idea, there’ll probably be a market for your documentary no matter what it’s about. After all, there’s been a doco about the biosphere in the average garden (”Microcosmos”), a guy who loved bears so much it killed him (”Grizzly Man”) and eating McDonalds for a month to see what it does to your health (”Super Size Me”).
So travelling the world to find out whether it really matters that you have a small penis seems like a walk in the park. The film opens with a YouTube clip of a UCLA basketball game, where the ground cameras captured a young man proposing to his girlfriend… and her running away crying. It (apparently) went viral, and ”Unhung Hero” is the story of what the young man – comedian and actor Patrick Moote – did next after his girlfriend supposedly turned him down because of the unimpressive size of his penis.
He goes on an odyssey from friends to doctors and spiritualists across town and across the world to find out if size really does matter and whether he can do anything about his. He talks to a manufacturer and importer of penis pumps, friends and family, the attendees and performers at a porn convention, his family doctor and more. It culminates in him considering being injected by some yellow potion in a dingy hotel room in Asia, having weights dangling from his crown jewels and contemplating plastic surgery which he sees in progress and runs to the nearest sink to vomit.
There comes a point where you wonder whether Moote had the idea for the documentary (whatever his own admitted shortcomings and just pinned the angle on himself to make it relatable). But when the sex shop girl from an earlier scene shows up in his life again and he talks to his mother about how depressed he is with it all, wanting to throw in the towel on the film, it all starts to feel a bit constructed.
We might have been had all along – even the basketball stadium rejection the beginning of some huge piece of performance art. He’s an actor and a stand up comic, after all, and it’s telling that (whether you wanted to or not) we never see the allegedly uninspiring member in question.
But it gives you a window into some of the extreme ‘treatments’ and advice available and some of the opinions out there about the topic. If nothing else, ”Unhung Hero” will remind you simply that it takes all types.
DVD : This was a promo copy, so there were no extras on the disc.