The mockumentary is perhaps one of the hardest (sub?) genres to get right in film. It is all about balance. For every great Christopher Guest film (Spinal Tap, Best in Show) there are other appalling examples like Sacha Baron Cohen’s Bruno. It is a type of film that is rife with pitfalls. It can become a parody of a parody or it could, depending on the subject matter be offensive. Judge it right, however, and it can be quite brilliant.
As this particular film started and the title came up, I have to admit my heart sank a little. I don’t really recall an Irish mockumentary at all to be honest, never mind a good one. This title seemed to suggest a bawdy, tasteless and painfully unfunny foray into a subject matter that the Irish are not that keen on discussing: sex. So imagine my surprise then when it turned out to be a quite funny and very enjoyable hour’s entertainment.
The film starts off with the presenter of the ‘documentary’ on the Irish porn industry (does this even exist?) talking to camera about his style and previous mistakes. It is a crucial introduction in many ways as he is the only character in this film that we can identify with. He is the Irish everyman for the ages: repressed, easily embarrassed by sex yet there is a lustful vibe just below the surface (this is not a sex pun). During the film he interviews a variety of stock characters about their experiences in the industry. There is the male performer Anthony ‘Pirate Pete’ Reddy (Brian O’Riordan), the sexy older woman Eilish ‘Cherri Roxx’ Moran (Karren O’Rafferty), the delusional Paris Hilton like ‘Irish’ American erotic star Amber ‘Seire’ Moriarty (Zoe Slusar) who dreams of being a brand and lastly Colin Stephens (Tim Casey) who runs Leaprehorn productions. All of the interviews are interspersed.
As mentioned, these are generic characters and with that, there are some parts that work better than others. The best by some distance is Anthony ‘Pirate Pete’ Reddy who is a terrific creation, dispensing some of the most inappropriate anecdotes from his experiences in the porn industry regardless of the questions asked of him. Yes, this is broad sex comedy stuff, which can sometimes be funny just when hearing it with an Irish accent, but there is more here than that. He is brilliant and is missed when off screen. Eilish ‘Cherri Roxx’ Moran is less funny. The actress gives it her all but it mostly consists of hearing an older Irish woman using filthy phraseology. There are a couple of chuckles in there, however. Least successful is the Amber ‘Seire’ segment which gets annoying very quickly (her claim about being one fifteenth Irish made me laugh however). She complains all the time about what she has to endure and it quickly drains the film of momentum. I would like to have seen much less of her and more of the porn movie mogul (in Irish terms) Colin Stephens who runs Leaprehorn productions. It may be the teenager in me, but that pun really works. He talks all too briefly about why he got into the business: basically because Americans were making cod Irish porn productions. This is a really interesting comment on general American film productions set in Ireland such P.S. I Love You and Leap Year. I would like to have seen more of this character but alas he has only one scene. I don’t want to reveal the porn film parody name of the Irish film they he is making but it is very funny.
Overall, there is a funny script by Andrew Anderson and the direction by David Meade is fine for documentary style - if a little bit flat. The production values are low as befits a low budget venture so it is unlikely this will be seen in cinemas. Its running time of just under an hour would also seem to confirm this. But if you happened upon this on Netflix or late night TV in the wee small hours whilst having a few beers, this is the kind of film that would keep you solidly entertained with some good laughs to be had.