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Review: Who knew toilets were the answer to a healthier world?

Jack Sim, subject of the documentary ‘Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man,’ uses two rolls of toilet paper as binoculars
Jack Sim in the documentary “Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man.”
(Jim Orca)

Once you get beyond the inescapable potty jokes, Lily Zepeda’s “Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man,” turns out to be a compassionate and inspiring portrait of tireless world sanitation crusader, Jack Sim.

A true character, the Singapore-based Sim is the founder of the WTO — not that WTO but the World Toilet Organization, dedicated to bringing proper sanitation to those who need it most, particularly rural India where Prime Minister Modi enlists his help in solving the country’s longstanding open defecation practice.

Formerly a successful businessman with a talent for eye-catching marketing (who knew that 007 flipped in both directions spells LOO?), the irrepressible 62-year-old first plunged himself into the privy cause in 2001.

Inevitably, he encounters pushback by those resentful over a foreigner instructing them how to go about their business as well as by his frustrated board of directors who are constantly thwarted in their efforts to get their ever-riffing boss to focus his energies.

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And while his own family, including his supportive wife and four children, Faith, Truth, Worth and Earth, have come to terms with his unavailability for numerous family milestones, his absences have taken their toll.

Enhanced by playful animations, this nicely composed documentary serves as an engagingly honest profile of a driven man and his prodigious movement.

‘Mr. Toilet: The World’s #2 Man’
In English, and Hindi, Mandarin and Telugu with English subtitles

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

Playing: Starts Nov. 8, Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica


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