Youth Knows No Pain -- Film Review

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LAS VEGAS -- Given the interest in such shows as "Nip/Tuck" and "Dr. 90210," it comes as no surprise that the nation's reluctance to embrace the notion of growing old gracefully has created a $60 billion-a-year anti-aging industry.

Filmmaker Mitch McCabe, the daughter of a pioneering plastic surgeon, gets up close and personal with "Youth Knows No Pain," an amusing, thoughtful doc that navigates the fine lines and unsightly crinkles to reach the insecurities lurking all too close to the surface.

Scheduled to begin airing in August on HBO, the film does well by its assembled talking (nipped, tucked or otherwise altered) heads.

In addition to the experts and practitioners (some of whom display all the clinical expertise of used car dealers), McCabe spends two years tracking several colorful patients throughout the country.

The liveliest would be the cosmetic surgery-addicted Sherry Mecom ($35,000 in procedures and counting), a Texas suburbanite who contends that aging gracefully means accepting the ways you can change yourself.

Then there's married Norman Deesing, who underwent work to look like Jack Nicholson, at least enough to land gigs in music videos and catch the eye of younger women.

But the most intriguing story might come from McCabe herself, who, when not engaged with her subjects, spends a good deal of time poring over a decade's worth of home video footage, much of which shows her late father at work.

Although she initially takes the roll of impartial, if wry, observer, the reflective McCabe lets her own self-esteem issues get the best of her, and she, too, ends up slipping into the Botox vortex.

Venue: CineVegas (HBO Documentary Films)
Production: Open Pictures, Chipped Nail Polish Prods.
Director-writer: Mitch McCabe
Executive producers: Dale Rosenbloom, Seth Willenson, W. Wilder Knight
Producers: Linda Chiu, Kathleen Rosenbloom, Mitch McCabe
Director of photography: Mitch McCabe
Music: David Majzlin
Editors: Mitch McCabe, Michael Taylor
No rating, 87 minutes