In a society where bigger is better, most less-than-well-endowed men keep their shortcomings to themselves. This is not the case with comedian Patrick Moote, the subject of Milwaukee Film Festival's Documentary Festival Favorite, "Unhung Hero." The film's final screening of the festival took place on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Oriental Theatre. A Q&A with Director Brian Spitz and conversation at Hotel Foster followed the screening.
"Unhung Hero" began as a project after a video of Moote's rejected Jumbotron proposal went viral, reaching 10,000,000 Youtube views in only four days. To make matters worse, Moote learned that the reason for his rejection was that his penis is too small....and the idea for a documentary was born. Moote was shocked by this revelation, having never concerned himself with size or how he measures up to his peers, and certainly not thinking that it mattered enough to end a relationship. Questions then began to arise about penis enhancers, whether size really does matter, and how the obsession with size began.
The documentary begins with Moote's most frightening enhancement option, namely injections, in Papa New Guinea. The film then circles back to his rejection and local start in exploring the question of size. He does everything from asking people their opinions on the streets, to looking into pills, pumps, and exercises. However his more serious exploration on the topic begins abroad. He travels from Malaysia to Korea to Taiwan to Papa New Guinea, and back again to Korea. In his travels, he visits a condom company, sex education museum, and a, lets say, camera-shy sauna. He speaks to anthropologists, urologists, students, porn stars, and doctors and tries everything from penis weight hanging to eating rooster testicles. Moote tries practically anything for the world to see, showing just how focused on size people have become and to what lengths one will go to get bigger.
Moote establishes early on that hes a standup comedian and aspiring comedic actor, which it shows as this documentary is jam-packed with comedy as he talks to people in the streets, often with hidden cameras in "Borat" fashion. This being said, it's not the kind of comedy for everyone. Those averse to adult humor and the "Borat" (or even "Jackass", at times) kind of comedy might not make it through the entirety of this film. At times some of the situations, such as bringing a hidden camera into a Korea sauna, seem staged and too ridiculous to be true, but Director Brian Spitz insisted during the Q&A that everything in the film was genuine.
While this documentary may seem like a joke given the topic, it touches on the more important topics of self-esteem and body image in men. This, is the heart of the film and an important topic to explore as body image is typically only discussed concerning women in popular culture. Moote shows great vulnerability before the public eye, putting himself through a great deal both physically and psychologically. While his failed proposal was due partially to his size, he admits that there were other reasons but becomes obsessed with the idea that he had to be bigger to find happiness. One minute the audience sees him laugh at the ridiculous situations he puts himself in, and the next he's pushed to the brink of what he can take. He is commendable in this documentary, showing great bravery in being able to laugh at himself and turn a horrible experience into something that can help men with self-esteem issues, debunking myths surrounding enhancers and the popular notion that size matters.