Silly, shallow documentary on men's grooming habits.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Mansome, a documentary by Morgan Spurlock, examines the male urge to primp and groom and how that impacts a guy's "manliness." The movie is more of a comedy than an actual exploration of anything; some experts are interviewed, but many of the other subjects are comedians or people who groom themselves regularly. There's very little nudity, but there is a sexual subtext to the "grooming" theme; men who groom may simply be trying to attract mates and procreate. Some of the strongest words are bleeped out, but "f--k" and "s--t" are both heard, as are references to various body parts. Mansome is somewhat funny, but ultimately it feels fairly lightweight.
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What's the Story?
When filmmaker Morgan Spurlock decided to grow a mustache for a competition and then shave it off for a fundraiser, he wondered why it was such a big deal. In MANSOME, he interviews various experts and comedians -- as well as a professional wrestler, a professional "beardsman," and other groomers -- about why and how they grow facial hair, remove hair, or undergo various other procedures, all in the name of "looking good." The movie raises several questions: Why do men groom? Are they simply trying to attract mates, or is it something more? And, does this make them less "manly"? Mansome doesn't definitively provide any answers, but it aims to have a lot of fun trying.
Is It Any Good?
Spurlock is better known for his funny "gimmick" documentaries than for any kind of professional journalism; Mansome is arguably his most insignificant, lightweight effort to date. Never mind that it doesn't provide any answers; it barely even asks a question. Spurlock clearly pads out the running time with interviews with various comedians, including improvised sequences of Jason Bateman and Will Arnett at a spa.
Even the segments with the actual interviewees, such as a professional "beardsman," go on too long. Not to mention that Spurlock seems to increasingly find fault with his subjects the longer they remain on camera. The movie subtly ridicules them in an underhanded way, pointing out their narcissism and arrogance rather than their humanity or insecurities. The celebrity guests, of course, get more reverential treatment. Some interesting concepts are tossed around, and it's passable entertainment for television, but not worth the price of admission.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Mansome's theme. Is it OK for boys to be concerned about their body image? How much is too much (or too little)?
Is this movie informative, entertaining, or both? Why do you think Spurlock chose to interview comedians as well as experts?
Does Mansome make you want to start grooming or taking better care of your body? How?
Does the movie make fun of its subjects? When is and isn't it appropriate to poke fun at someone else?
- In theaters: May 18, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: December 11, 2012
- Cast: Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis
- Director: Morgan Spurlock
- Studio: Paladin
- Genre: Documentary
- Run time: 82 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: language and some crude material
- Last updated: February 25, 2022
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Funny, smart docu is OK for older teens.
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