'Mansome'

Explores the nature of American masculinity in a surface-scratching fashion that does no favors to men -- or America, for that matter.

Devoting roughly an hour to the fine art of facial-hair maintenance, Morgan Spurlock’s one-dimensionally goofy docu “Mansome” explores the nature of American masculinity in a surface-scratching fashion that does no favors to men — or America, for that matter. Relentlessly meatheaded and scarcely if ever funny, the film features interviews with a narrow cross-section of guys’ guys, including a toupee designer, a full-time narcissist and a half-dozen celebrity jokesters (among them exec producers Will Arnett and Jason Bateman) whose oncamera improv remains largely limp. Skedded for mid-May theatrical release, the rambling “Mansome” appears even less well shaped than Spurlock’s precious handlebars.

Pic pledges to investigate the rise of interest in grooming products among American gents, but soon settles for an absurdly long European excursion with “beardsman” Jack Passion, whose 3-foot facial-hair growth earns him props on the contest circuit. A barbershop habitue blames feminism for fellas’ flaunting of their uniquely male attributes, but that’s as far as the film wades into sociological waters. Ironically or not, it’s John Waters, with his pencil-thin mustache and anti-macho repartee, who comes closest to delivering comedy and critique. Tech credits are mansome to a fault.

Mansome

Production

A Paladin release of an Electus, Warrior Poets, DumbDumb production. Produced by Jeremy Chilnick, Meri Haitkin, Morgan Spurlock. Executive producers, Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Ben Silverman, Drew Buckley, Laura Caraccioli. Directed by Morgan Spurlock. Written by Spurlock, Jeremy Chilnick.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Paul Dokuchitz, Matt Goodman, Daniel Marracino; editor, Thomas M. Vogt; music, Jingle Punks. Reviewed at Tribeca Film Festival (Spotlight), April 21, 2012. Running time: 82 MIN.

With

Morgan Spurlock, Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, Zach Galifianakis, Jack Passion, Paul Rudd, John Waters, Kate White, Helen Fisher, Ricky Manchanda, Stefan Campbell, Scott Ian, Michael Kimmel, Carmine Pisacreta, Shawn Daivari, Brook Frank.

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