This documentary reminded me of An Idiot Abroad. Both that show and Unhung Herp have scenes where average looking white people are sent around the globe to do embarrassing things. On An Idiot Abroad, Karl Pilkington will go to Mexico and be forced to train as a luchadore, or get make-up tips from Thai drag performers, situations that emphasize his personal awkwardness for comedic effect. Here, Patrick Moote goes to a few Asian countries to discuss penis-related topics, like enlongation surgery with a Korean doctor or virility supplements with a Chinese street vendor, and his uncomfortability around the size of his penis provides most of the humor.
The difference between the two things, however, is that on An Idiot Abroad Karl is being forced to do these things by his frienemy Ricky Gervais, whereas Moote is making himself do these things. There are times when An Idiot Abroad pushes Karl too hard and the program begins to seem cruel, but this documentary always stays on the right side of the line because Moote is never pushed farther than he’s willing to go.
That’s vitally important; the topic of someone’s penis size is so invasive that if someone other than Moote himself was in charge the film could easily feel invasive. The fact that Moote has a compulsion to discuss his shortcomings kept me from feeling icky about watching it, which is a problem I often have with an Idiot Abroad. Yes, I am laughing at Moote – but he’s a comedian, which means that it’s not just what he wants, it’s something he needs to get to scratch some psychic itch.
On paper, this movie sounds pretty iffy – a film where a man obsesses over his masculinity could go wrong in so many different ways, not just by being exploitive, but by being whiny, or self-involved. I’m glad to say that this is a really likeable film, consistently funny and fascinating, and one that handles it’s subject with enough delicacy to make it’s turtle-sperm-cocktail drinking sequences go down easy.