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Comedy: It's A Dick Thing
by Denise DuVernay

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is there just something inherently funny about the penis?

is there just something inherently funny about the penis?
When I was younger, I noticed that movies frequently featured full female nudity but not so much of men. Sure, we might have seen the occasional butt cheek and of course, bare chests, but you can see a man's bare chest by looking out the window and seeing the neighbor mow the lawn (yikes). I asked someone why this was. Although I have no idea who supplied the answer (parent? teacher? priest?) I do remember the answer. It had something to do with the reproductive organs being on the outside on men, but with women they are safely housed inside the body, so breasts and some pubic hair were no biggie, but a penis is on the outside. For some reason, I bought that lame-ass excuse.

Until I saw ABOUT LAST NIGHT. I watched it so many times that I became intimately familiar with Demi Moore's breasts (of course, they look nothing like that now). Remember that scene where she's in the kitchen and the light is coming through the window? Out of curiosity and fairness, I wanted to see Rob Lowe's penis, sure, but I realized that the reason I wouldn't was because the curves of Demi's hips were way sexier than any silly old penis could possibly be. Then it clicked. Naked women are way sexier than naked men! (Of
After five years, it's really not so odd to converse like so.

After five years, it's really not so odd to converse like so.
course, this is no secret to anyone who's ever seen naked people). This is clearly not new information, and I don't mean to get all feminist on ya'll, but it was an epiphany for me. Yep, I thought, just another way that women are objectified.

But there is good news! The Penis has made a resurgence in films. Used to be, the only penis we'd see in a movie was attached to Harvey Keitel, but lately, you can't hardly flip on HBO without seeing a penis. And friends who have seen Todd Phillips's new film THE HANGOVER have said there is an abundance of penis sightings. While I'm happy with this relatively new equality in nudity, the fact is that the penis is generally used for comedy (with exceptions, of course, like Peter Sarsgaard in KINSEY).

Perhaps the rules about flaccidity contribute, and create at least a partial need to use the penis in a humorous context instead of sexual.

Many recent penises in films were intended to be funny. Examples:


For comedies, a tricky task is to keep the gravitas in an emotion-filled scene while simultaneously not driving the guys out to the concession stand. The ironic thing is director Nicholas
it's funny cuz it's true

it's funny cuz it's true
Stoller kept all the guys glued to the screen with the cunning use of Jason Segel's penis. He is nude when he finds out that he is not only being dumped but that his girlfriend of five years has been cheating on him. His nudity shows his vulnerability and gives Kristen Bell's funny a chance to shine when she delivers the perfectly timed line "Do you want to put some clothes on?"

Picture of a penis on a giant screen in Will Ferrell's YOU'RE WELCOME, AMERICA A Final Night with George W. Bush

I'm not sure what to say about this. I could try to defend a thesis regarding the political message Ferrell was making with plastering a picture of a penis on a screen while in his George W. Bush persona, but I'll just say it was a funny bit that used the element of surprise and leave it at that. (BORAT and SCARY MOVIE also used photographs of penises, btw.)

So as you can see, the penis is in no short supply, In fact, I vaguely remember penises in WALK HARD and SIDEWAYS, and have heard that there's a penis in HAROLD AND KUMAR ESCAPE FROM GUANTANAMO BAY. And on my queue, a film that I've heard is a delightful romp, PUPPETRY OF THE PENIS (2001).

So, dear readers, what are your thoughts about the penis
They say Minnesota, but I'll bet they filmed it in Canada. Jerks.

They say Minnesota, but I'll bet they filmed it in Canada. Jerks.
in film? And what are your suggestions for films that show the penis in a positive light?

The next couple of weeks look good for my Netflix queue (but may or may not feature penises):

Dropping May 26

This will be sure to please as making fun of Minnesotans is more than fun and it has Harry Connick, Jr.

Based on the Elmore Leonard novel, KILLSHOT is a thriller that stars the gorgeous Diane Lane, the underrated Joseph Gordon-Levitt and the, um, and Mickey Rourke.

Entertainment Weekly said it was retched (in so many words), but Jessica Biel is reportedly nude in it. (Now if Forest Whitaker had been nude instead, maybe it would have been released in theaters. I'm just sayin').

Land of the Lost full series limited edition set (in an adorable lunchbox!)
Curious timing, don't you think?

Dropping June 2

I can't believe I didn't see this in the theater!

Kate and Leo, together again.

Maybe you're desperate for a gift idea.

And on blu-ray: THE GRADUATE, FLETCH, and ROADHOUSE BLUES (because it's time to replace those VHS tapes, people).

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May 24, 2009 3:37 AM
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I second the vote. It's high time the ladies got some young hard c*ck in their movies. Equal sights. No Boner, No Peace.
Jul 10, 2009 10:50 PM
[X] delete
Here's something funny: Salon has an article with their favorite penis moments in film. Coincidence? (Well, yeah, probably): http://www.salon.com/ent/feature/2009/07/09/penis_listicle/index.html

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Every other Sunday

Semi-wholesome Midwestern girl and certified Geek Magnet offers her suggestions - often new, sometimes classic - for DVDs that are definitely queue-worthy.

Other Columns
Other columns by Denise DuVernay:

Goodbye, Du

Du Chats Movies With Comics Author Lonnie Millsap

Du Reviews ALPOCALYPSE by "Weird Al" Yankovic

Another Piece Praising BRIDESMAIDS

Friendship Films and DVD Picks for May 17

All Columns

Denise DuVernay
9 out of 10 librarians think Denise is a hoot. The 10th one couldn't corroborate because she was dead.

If you have a comment, question, or suggestion, you can send a message to Denise DuVernay by clicking here.

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