Once the most bashful leading man in cinema—notorious for his absence, some would say, throughout years of copious beaver shots—the penis is ready for his close-up in Uncut: Member Only, a feature-length, Guinness-certified stunt whose title anticipates every dick joke a reviewer can thrust at it. Writer-director Gionata Zarantonello invites this level of discourse by propping Franco Trentalance (as a Lothario bed-bound by a cracked pelvis) spread-eagled before a fixed camera for 76 minutes with his package filling the frame. With the camera literally cutting the actor off at the balls—all dialogue, or monologue, takes place offscreen above the waist—the movie attempts to demystify the dong through sheer ubiquity: Stare at it long enough, and even the mighty male scepter becomes a meaningless meat puppet. (Think of this as the pink counterpart to Derek Jarman’s Blue.) But the movie’s ultimately less interested in subversion than in sophomoric gimmickry, and Zarantonello exhausts the entertainment value of his still-life-with-schlong long before he busts out the chainsaw and the likeness of Bill Clinton. In the end, the phallus is mostly a prop to be fiddled with or jiggled, which gives Uncut its reverse Freudian punchline— sometimes a cock is just a cigar.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on June 6, 2006