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Film Review: ‘Unhung Hero’

Brian Spitz's documentary amusingly details one man's quest to find out if size really matters.

With:

Patrick Moote, Peter Moote, Robert Wagner, Jennifer Berman, Joel Kaplan, Cristian Youngmiller,  Aiden Aspen, Dale Dabone, Ron Jeremy, Robert Lawrence, Annie Sprinkle, Carol Queen, Klaus Richter, Song-ah Yoo, Master Tu, Gilbert Herdt, Yoon-Soo Lee, Jonah Falcon, Dan Savage. (English, Malaysian, Korean, Mandarin dialogue)

“Unhung Hero” amusingly details comedian Patrick Moote’s quest to find out if size really matters — and whether it’s really possible to enlarge the size of one’s junk — after a public humiliation underlines the insecurity that dwells in his underwear. Brian Spitz’s ingratiating first theatrical feature opens Dec. 6 at Hollywood’s Arena Cinema, launching on DVD and iTunes a few days later. It has a good shot at parlaying favorable reviews and other press attention into additional theatrical dates.

A droopy-lidded, emo-looking Gen-Y actor and standup talent, Moote endured a less-than-desirable moment of fame a while back when he proposed to his girlfriend (otherwise never seen or heard from here) at a UCLA basketball game. Her decline was projected to all on the Jumbotron in a scene that became an embarrassing viral hit, much discussed by the usual talkshow pundits. Apparently the soon-to-be-ex-g.f. subsequently explained that a major cause for her refusal was the underwhelming scale of Moote’s endowment. Determined to find out “am I too small?,” he announces, “The men of the world deserve an answer to this question and so I’m going to find it with this cockumentary.”

First stop is his Pacific Northwest hometown, where family members are supportive but other ex-squeezes less so; one says that on a sexual scale of one to 10, he’s a three. Nor does a famed female urologist offer much cheer when she says the average penis is four to six inches erect, and his is “low normal.” Others consulted include the “penis pump king” and another man who’s invented an enlargement technique called “jelqing.”

Now on a regime of exercises and pills, Moote is alarmed when sexologist Carol Queen informs him that far from doing him good, such quackery might actually cause permanent physical harm. He gets psychological encouragement from ex-porn star Annie Sprinkle, who says she can tell he’s “a sexually gifted person,” and her famously endowed colleague Ron Jeremy assures that, as far as women are concerned, “a good tongue is more important.”

Still determined to somehow improve upon nature, Moote travels to Southeast Asia, where the consumption of relevant animal parts, extreme martial arts, scary oil injections and plain old plastic surgery are among the variably credible solutions on offer. Back home, he gets some sage advice from Jonah Falcon, alleged owner of the world’s largest penis, and author Dan Savage.

The wrap-up is a bit rote, as Moote finally gets the “just be yourself” message and a new girlfriend to boot. But the film’s brisk progress is always genial and lively, hitting the expected off-color-humor marks without getting too juvenile. If “Unhung Hero” occasionally feels semi-staged, it never takes itself seriously enough for that to feel like a cheat. Assembly is sharp and resourceful throughout.

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Film Review: 'Unhung Hero'

Reviewed online, San Francisco, Dec. 4, 2013. Running time: 86 MIN.

Production:

(Documentary) A Breaking Glass Pictures release of a Green Sky Films production. Produced by Thomas Brettschneider, In-Ah Lee, Christoph Pellander, Lynn Schmitz. Executive producers, Ulrich Mommert, Karen Walter-Mommert, Christian Hofann, Alexander P. Sator, Andreas Schafer, Sebastian Wolff, Anne Brettschneider, Ralf Drechsler, Simon Mayer, Frank Ott, Ralf Ott, Jochen Benz, Frank Fischer, Annette Hardieck, Josef Pellander, Jose Fornes Pierez, Brian Spitz, Michael Westerwick. Co-producer, Starlee Kine, Eric Abrams.

Crew:

Directed by Brian Spitz. Camera (color, HD), Brennan Maxwell; editor, Justin Guerrieri; music, Sarah Schachner; music supervisor, Cary Logrande; sound, Kevni Faber, Jared Simmons; supervising sound editor/re-recording mixer, Clayton Weber.

With:

Patrick Moote, Peter Moote, Robert Wagner, Jennifer Berman, Joel Kaplan, Cristian Youngmiller,  Aiden Aspen, Dale Dabone, Ron Jeremy, Robert Lawrence, Annie Sprinkle, Carol Queen, Klaus Richter, Song-ah Yoo, Master Tu, Gilbert Herdt, Yoon-Soo Lee, Jonah Falcon, Dan Savage. (English, Malaysian, Korean, Mandarin dialogue)

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