A documentary that explores the question: In the age of manscaping, metrosexuals, and grooming products galore – what does it mean to be a man? (IMDB)

Director:  Morgan Spurlock
Stars:  Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Morgan Spurlock
Runtime/Rating: 82 Minutes/ PG-13
Popcorn Score: Medium Popcorn

To groom or not to groom, that is the question:

Whether ‘tis nobler for the body to be natural

With patchy, disheveled, unkempt hair growth,

Or to take clippers, razors and brushes against a forest of body hair,

And by opposing end them: to be styled, kept, clean shaven…Mansome.

These questions along with what it takes to be a man in general are what Morgan Spurlock and friends try to answer with a paucity of Shakespearean honor and esteem in the documentarian’s latest offering “Mansome”.  To add to his credits including “Super Size Me” (the fast food equivalent of a month long booze bender in Vegas) “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” and the TV show “30 Days” he delivers yet another entertaining, fast paced and somewhat insightful documentary.   Assisted by a slew of comedians such as Judd Apatow, Adam Carolla, Paul Rudd and Zach Galifianakis who sit in front of the camera and toss out their best one liners, Spurlock takes us from topic to topic about what 20’th century men are doing, what is normal, what is weird.

One of those topics is investigated by following a man who has won awards from numerous competitions for having the best beard in the world.  Another point in the movie we learn about the body shaving rituals of a Florida professional wrestler.  Later on the documentary tackles the popular categorization of “Metro sexuality” by following around a mid-30’s Indian man who is absolutely obsessed with his appearance.  At one point asking for the eyebrow wax stylist to simply take 3 or 4 hairs out from the lower half of his eyebrows to form the perfect arc – a true Manscape.   To show that manscaping crosses generation gaps, Spurlock talks to barbers both young and old.  One of which, in the most impressive scene in the movie for me, who is a man in his 70’s and has to be one of the best in the business at offering bald men a hairpiece that is a near perfect match for the individuals head shape and hair type.

When we are not following the different subjects of the movie or listening to the snippets of insight offered by the “average people” offering their opinions on each topic, we are simply enjoying a relaxing man-day at the spa with co-executive producers Will Arnett and Jason Bateman.   They merely serve as buffers when the movie moves on from one “manscussion” topic to the next.  They are entertaining as usual but I question if they are a part of the project for any reason other than to promote the upcoming Netflix season of Arrested Development. (Which would be fine by me because I am extremely excited for the 2nd coming of that amazing show!)

In the end you have sat through an enjoyable look at what different men are doing these days to make themselves look better(or worse), you have heard some comedians throw out their two cents about a handful of different “hair quality control issues”, and also gotten a bit of an insight about what women want.  The problem I have is that it doesn’t go too deep into any of the specific issues, issues that have all been looked into before as well.  It doesn’t offer any new or uncommon insight.  It doesn’t typically offer pros and cons, or provide a conclusion which is fine as a documentary that just exists for entertainment more than to educate or preach.  It is far from a Michael Moore production.  It is a documentary that you will enjoy equally whether you’re focusing on the subject matter staring at the TV, or if it is on in the background while you’re cleaning the living room, working on your computer or cooking.

Medium Popcorn. 

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