October 2004

The Jizz Mopper

The Jizz Mopper
The Jizz Mopper follows a day in the life of JM (Randy Cook), an unmotivated assistant at an adult shop. Let’s be honest here, if you had to clean up after a bunch of wankers you probably wouldn’t be the most motivated person on the planet either.

Although The Jizz Mopper has several funny scenes – the priest (Dino Scoppettone) being the most memorable – the film as a whole didn’t really work for me.

And I think the problem comes from a disconnect between the style and the content of the film.

The film is set (eventually) in a porn shop. The customers spend their time in “private booths”. This is a film that really wants to be a completely over the top gross out comedy.

Unfortunately, it’s shot in a very understated pseudo documentary style.

What this film needs is broad caricatures, but what we get instead is a collection of characters who are neither sympathetic nor empathetic enough for me to find anything to identify with nor extreme enough for me to be able to sit back and enjoy the silliness.

And, for a thirty minute film, it does take a while to get going.

It’s 11 minutes (I was watching the clock by this point) before JM even gets to the store. Before that, we see him in bed, get out of bed, urinate, feel the force of the previous night’s chilli, make a sandwich, eat a Twinkie, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Again, there are a couple of decent jokes amongst all this – the wanking Clinton toy, for example, and the Time magazine scenes – but these lose their impact amongst the ordinary unpleasantness of the JM getting ready for work.

Things do pick up a bit once JM finally gets to work, and the customers are pretty well drawn characters. But I still found it all a very slow moving film.

Sitcoms such as The Office and Early Doors show that character based comedy can be incredibly funny, but it does depend on the viewers being familiar with both the characters and the situation as well as needing some very well written dialogue.

The problem, for me, with The Jizz Mopper is that neither the characters nor the situation are familiar, and when most of the characters spend most of their time in private booths, the opportunity for great dialogue is pretty much excluded.

At the end of the day, The Jizz Mopper depends on you finding the idea that someone has to mop up these booths inherently funny or shocking.

I didn’t and, for me, the film would have worked far better if it had followed the lead of films such as The Party Boys or HR Pukenshette and gone completely over the top.

Isolation


Billy’s (Shane Ryan) mother died shortly after he was born.

Now it’s his sixteenth birthday and he is still trying to come to terms with her death.

Isolation is a moodily atmospheric film that really does capture Billy’s sense of not belonging as well as his desperation to find something to connect to. And, of course, since what he is seeking to connect to is his – presumably idealised - sense of his dead mother, this is a necessarily downbeat film.

Most of the sets are deserted and – even when there are other people around – Billy is, at best, ignored. There is no dialogue – just a voice over, from Billy and about Billy.

Everything about Billy comes back to Billy and his self reinforcing sense of being alone.

That said it’s far from a bleak film.

The largely black and white cinematography of the film – combined with a very effective score – gives the film a gorgeously dream-like feel.
`
The ending manages to be both inevitable and cathartic without being predictable – something that takes a great deal of talent to pull off.

And there is a lot of talent on show here with a strong but straightforward storyline making the most of the short film format.

If you get the chance to see Isolation I strongly suggest you do so. Whether or not you enjoy it will probably depend on how cheerful you were feeling beforehand, but – if nothing else – it’s worth watching just to see what writer/director Shayne Ryan is capable of.