Mansome: Tribeca Review
Morgan Spurlock's latest documentary explores the world of contemporary male grooming.
NEW YORK — Pointless but consistently amusing, Morgan Spurlock's Mansome works best when it tacitly admits its investigation of contemporary male grooming is a just-for-laughs affair. Its superficial sociology makes a fine setting for comic riffs on the identity crisis faced by Today's Male, but doesn't necessarily justify a theatrical outing.
Without question, cultural expectations for men have been in flux for decades; some earnest documentarian may eventually offer more than pop-psych insight into what that means. Auds will realize Spurlock's not the man for that job. Even so, they may expect the filmmaker's hair-obsessed doc to offer a bit more than this haphazard tour through the follicular strategies embraced by the fringe-y beard fetishists, eyebrow obsessives, and hairless bodybuilders given the most screen time to here.
Subjects like a Sikh fashion-industry worker who confesses his metrosexuality and lets us watch as he undertakes OCD-level cosmetic procedures are compelling in their way, but the occasional interview with a sociologist or magazine editor does little to link these outliers to the mainstream in a meaningful way.
Viewers will have an easier time identifying with the celebrity interviewees, including Zach Galifianakis, who make the film watchable even as they demonstrate total indifference to the obsessions and neuroses it has set out to document. (God bless him, John Waters manages to maintain his signature look while appearing immune to the insecurities one suspects afflict many of the younger moustache-wearers here.)
Chapters are stitched together with footage from a spa day in which exec-producers Will Arnett and Jason Bateman get pampered while musing about what it means to be a man. Their banter is as funny as fans will expect, walking a fine line between taking the question seriously and mocking themselves for participating.
Venue: Tribeca Film Festival, Spotlight
Production Companies: Electus, Warrior-Poets, DumbDumb
Director: Morgan Spurlock
Screenwriters: Jeremy Chilnick, Morgan Spurlock
Producers: Jeremy Chilnick, Meri Haitkin, Morgan Spurlock, Michael Rushton
Executive producers: Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Ben Silverman
Directors of photography: Paul Dokuchitz, Matt Goodman, Daniel Marracino
Music: Jingle Punks
Editor: Thomas M. Vogt
Sales: Mark Urman, Paladin
No rating, 82 minutes