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  Directed by
  • Full Frame
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  • None
  • Additional footage
  • Teaser trailer
  • Audio commentary - Director Mick Molloy and known cohort Tony Martin
  • Photo gallery
  • Animated menus

Tackle Happy

Madman Entertainment/AV Channel . R4 . COLOR . 74 mins . M15+ . PAL


Hey girls, ever wondered what your blokes get up to when we’re not around? If Tackle Happy is anything to go by then the news may not be particularly good...

A feature by The Late Show alumnus Mick Molloy, Tackle Happy is basically a “cockumentary” – following the Melbourne Comedy Festival-wowing act Puppetry of the Penis around the country on what becomes a somewhat ramshackle tour. If you’re still wondering what they get up to, well, essentially two guys – Simon and Friendy – hop up on stage and play with their willies, contorting what is easily the silliest looking part of the human anatomy into all manner of different configurations, “or dick tricks”, including the likes of The Loch Ness Monster, The Whipper-Snipper, The Bullfrog, The Hot Dog, The Hamburger (the latter two being things you may never wish to eat again after seeing this) and the rather wonderful Peter Reith.

"It’s not gratuitous nudity – it’s art!"

Loosely held together with snippets of the greatly missed Martin & Molloy radio program (the two gave much valuable promotion to the act on their show), we witness the live birth of the act in Melbourne through such landmarks as The Espy and the Corner Hotel - and, yes, in fine Melbourne filmic tradition we get shots of trams. A cunning plan is hatched to tour the country, so Simon, Friendy and a number of mates pile into a rather clapped out Kombi and set off up the Hume Highway to New South Wales. Through Sydney (and requisite shots of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House), Newcastle then on to Queensland and appearances in BrisVegas, that land of taste that is Surfer’s Paradise and Cairns - with visits to the Big Pineapple, and rather appropriately, the Big Banana on the way. Then they head west to Darwin, Broome and eventually to Perth, where the Kombi is plopped on a train and the gang return to Melbourne with their tails between their legs...

There are plenty of ups and downs along the way – run-ins with the licensing police, wharfies, money troubles, lack of petrol in the middle of nowhere, bushfires, hecklers, bad attendances and (not surprisingly) a severe lack of groupies. There’s a minor celebrity-fest to behold as we meet the likes of Paul Hester (Crowded House), Stephen Curry (The Castle), Andrew Denton and Amanda Keller, actress Lisa Hensley, comedian Jimeoin along the way, and we even get to relax with the lads as they enjoy spots of naked sky and scuba diving. All this is interspersed with possibly the most interesting part of the feature, interviews and candid reactions from the punters on experiencing what is definitely one of the more unusual comedy shows to hit the circuit. Ever.


Tackle Happy was shot on the cheap, simply using a camcorder. Hence it’s full frame, and video quality isn’t exactly magnificent, although it is surprisingly good at most times considering such limitations. While much of the outdoors footage is well lit and looks great, most of the stuff from indoors – such as many of the featured “tasteful installations” – tend to get somewhat lost with poor lighting and a severe reduction in detail. Otherwise there are a few instances of aliasing, but in the end if you were expecting masterful cinematic grandeur with a title such as this then you’re probably a bit of a dick yourself.


Unsurprisingly, the sound is simply presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. While at times what was recorded via camcorder can be a little difficult to make out, all the post-production stuff – radio clips, music etc – come up fine and give the soundstage a chance to open up a little. Synching is perfect throughout, and needless to say the surrounds and subwoofwoof get time off for this.

Music comes courtesy of a number of generally lesser-known, unsigned Australian performers, such as Gareth Skinner from Bzark, Bzark as a whole, High Pass Filter, Grand Theft Auto and The Derbrains and fits in with the “action” rather well.


Some slightly animated menus with fab musical accompaniment actually hide a reasonably impressive array of bonus goodies for such a title...

Commentary – Mick Molloy, Tony Martin and occasional guests: A fabulous commentary with even more laughs than the main feature. Sadly it is riddled with censoring bleeps, but still a must-listen for much more insight into what went on in front of, and behind, the camera.

View the Happy Trail: An alternate take on the old scene selection function, bringing up a map of Australia and allowing selections of cities visited.

Select a Trick: Jump straight to any of 28 different examples of doodle origami as featured in the, erm, feature.

Slide show: All twelve photographs as featured in the 1997 Puppetry of the Penis calendar, with musical accompaniment.

Bonus tricks: Four extras for those who just can’t get enough, all presented in a smallish window mid-screen. Tricks presented are The Uluru Turtle, The Drive-In, The Hairy Tongue and The Woman.

Tackle Happy CD: At first glance this is just your fairly standard plug for the soundtrack CD, however six entire songs can be played back - Tackle Happy and Under the Sea by Gareth Skinner, 79-81 by Derbrains, Nothing by Bzark, Spanish Fly by Luxedo and Cha Cha Cha by Grand Theft Auto.

Shonky Golf preview: A selection of random clips from another of Mick Molloy’s productions, ranging in length from 17 seconds to almost a minute and a half.


If you’re not easily offended at the sight of men doing rather silly things with their usually private bits, or are simply after something to deliver a few giggles that couldn’t be described in any other way than “different”, then Tackle Happy is the DVD for you. Sure, the video and audio presentations aren’t in any way cinematic or particularly professional, however if they were this would give proceedings an even further sense of the absurd. Extras are decent, and worth it simply for the utter cack-fest that is the commentary.

Ah, boys and their toys... I wonder if these guys do hen’s parties?

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      And I quote...
    "You will believe that a willy can fly!"
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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