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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Sept 24: Mansome


Sept 24: Mansome

"A documentary that explores the question: In the age of manscaping, metrosexuals, and grooming products galore - what does it mean to be a man?"
Directed by: Morgan Spurlock, Rated: PG-13, 82 minutes

I've always been a fan of Morgan Spurlock. Ever since his breakout documentary, Super Size Me, I've followed the guy and all of his work. From his TV show, 30 Days, to even his lesser known (and liked) docs, Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? and The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, I've liked his work. His newest film, Mansome is far from his best, but still is very entertaining as a whole. While it is an incredibly short, flawed, and confused little documentary, there are still a handful of laughs and much to discuss. 

You can't say Mansome without the Old Spice guy. 

The documentary discusses what it means to be a man. Breaking the doc into segments like "Mustaches" and "Beards", each bit discusses a particular manly feature and its significance in the world, what's okay and what's not cool, and wonders how much time and effort should be put into each. The film follows a couple of rather eccentric men, from a competitive "beardsman" (who's absolutely crazy and full of himself), to men who try way, way too hard to look good and end up looking like vain fools obsessed with every little detail.  Between each segment, we see Jason Bateman and Will Arnett (who co-produced the film) having their own pamper time at a spa, discussing what it means to be a man and continually trying to out-man the other guy. Along with these two stars, Spurlock also interviews other comedians, like Judd Apatow, Paul Rudd, Zach Galifianakis, and Adam Carolla. 

This guy is one of the most arrogant douche bags I've seen, and Spurlock rewards him with 15 minutes of screen time. 

The problem with the film is that it never knows where to go. The film's segments make sense at first, but then as you realize the whole premise behind the title goes out the window. Going in, I was expecting the movie to discuss the entire "metrosexual" phenomena that has plagued mankind in the past decade or so, talking about hair products and going to the spa more so then beards and facial hair. Without this focus, Mansome just jumps around all over the place and turns into a rather forced, sometimes funny documentary. The subjects Spurlock decided to focus on are at times, the most annoying self-involved people I've ever seen and instead of almost poking fun at them in a spoof-haha kind of way, he lets them be on screen doing whatever they want for way too long. Bateman and Arnett's presence also is very out of place. Sure, they're funny and I could watch them talk to each other for ages, but for the most time it feels forced and even more so out of place. As their bits could have been used as a quasi-narration, they turn into almost scripted pieces that don't fit in with the rest of the doc at all. One thing I did really enjoy, however, are the small interviews Spurlock does with random people, standing in front of a simple white screen, talking about facial hair, waxing, and what it takes to be a real man. These moments are very enjoyable and feel the least bit scripted, as opposed to large portions of the rest of the film. 

Arrested Development needs to come back... NOW

Even with it's flaws, the film is worth checking out. If you can get past the fact it's all just jumbled together in a very short run-time, and just watch it for a couple of laughs, you'll have a great time. If, however, you go into Mansome thinking that it's going to be some message ridden doc, full of mind-blowing facts or looks into the world of being a man, you'll be highly mistaken. Most of the movie feels like short stand-up bits strung together with seasoned comedians thrown in to spice things up a bit. While the insight of some of our favorite funny guys would seem to be more than something we'd welcome, it takes a lot away from the film. Mansome has a great idea behind it, but it's execution is just too choppy and messy to really enjoy. 

The Good:
moments of brilliance that are not only laugh-out-loud funny, but make you wonder about your own 'grooming' habits
The Bad:
those same moments almost immediately washed away by stories no one cares about and the realization Spurlock is giving screen time to people far deserving of it
The Ugly:
knowing that a great premise like this could have produced a much better documentary, had there been a stronger focus and better narrative

Overall: 6.3/10

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At September 24, 2012 at 6:11 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm ... this does sound potentially interesting and funny; it's too bad it wasn't more focused. And I am seriously behind the times. I've been hearing the word "metrosexual" -- off and on -- for the past ten years, and I still have no idea what it means. *LOL*

At September 24, 2012 at 6:54 PM , Blogger Nick said...

A heterosexual urban man whose lifestyle, concern for personal appearance, and spending habits are likened to those considered typical

At September 24, 2012 at 6:54 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Stars fly over head *the more you know!* lol

At September 25, 2012 at 4:13 AM , Blogger Ben said...

Compared to other Spurlock films, this has flown under the radar - atleast in the UK anyway. I only found out about this a week or so ago, went over to the IMDB page and saw a 4.7 rating. Ouch!

Spurlock has a watchability (I probably just invented that word) though, so I'll no doubt get round to watching this.

At September 25, 2012 at 9:14 AM , Blogger Nick said...

I've used watchability plenty of times before lol but I completely understand what you're saying. Even when it's eh, I'll still watch. The guy's just really entertaining and an overall nice dude to begin with. His effort's always there, the execution is what's lacking some times.


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