Hung Review: Supersize Me

February 25, 2010 by  
Filed under - Home, Reviews

HUNG: Thursday 25th February, Channel 4, 10.45pm ALERT ME

We’ve all got one talent that we can turn to our advantage. Some people are good with words, some are good with people. Perhaps you have a gift for tap dancing, macramé or Guitar Hero.

Or maybe like Ray Drecker, you’ve been blessed with an enormous dong.

Ray’s down on his luck. He used to be a high school athletics star that in the words of his ex-wife was “talented, smart, popular and hung?. Now he’s only one of those four, so when his house burns down and his twin kids move back in with his ex-wife (who’s shacked up with her smug dermatologist), he reaches the end of his tether.

After swallowing his pride and asking his ex for money, only to be knocked back, he attends a motivational seminar at which the speaker urges him to “identify his one winning tool?.

One former lover, a poet called Tanya, helps him with that problem later that day, “You want to be a millionaire, why don’t you market your dick?!? she yells, and a light goes on in Ray’s head…

Hung is a wonderfully dark comedy which is at times laugh out loud funny, but it’s also more than just puerile knob jokes, it’s actually an examination of lonely people dealing with advancing middle age who have nothing left to offer the world, which is dare I say it, actually quite…touching.

Even though Ray is irascible and bad tempered (in many ways, he’s a lot like Denis Leary), it’s hard not to find yourself rooting for him as he tries to hold his life together by any means possible.

Thomas Jane is excellent, balancing desperation and loneliness with a canny honesty about what he can offer the world. It’s easy to see why he was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance.

The director Alexander Payne, who had success with the brilliant Sideways and About Schmidt; films which also contained themes of getting older and feeling useless, is bang on form and has a great knack for making his characters likable and engaging instead of perpetually depressed.

When Tanya suggests that his small ad display his face, Ray exclaims “Are you kidding, no one can know my face!? Maybe he’s taking some inspiration from his time as Marvel anti-hero The Punisher – come to think of it that might be a better name for a gigolo than his chosen moniker of “Big Donnie?.

Probably best that you don’t spend too much time thinking about that…