Flick of the Week: Morgan Spurlock’s “Mansome”


Taking on the topic of what makes a man, Mansome is Spurlock’s entertaining, if not especially illuminating documentary about masculinity. Will Arnett and Jason Bateman have a spa day while episodes focus on male grooming: moustaches, beards, body hair, and even eyebrow threading. The point of all this male care is how it affects identity, creates confidence, and makes guys feel sexy. The best vignettes deal with products such as “Fresh Balls,” which prevent “batwings” (the scrotum sticking to one’s leg).

There is also a fascinating episode involving specialist Mr. Carmine creating his unique hairpieces. But some storylines—one involving Beardsman Jack Passion in competition, or Ricky, a metrosexual—are either repetitive, or go on too long. Many of these same points are made succinctly, and even hilariously, in interviews with folks ranging from Zach Galifianakis to John Waters. Yet, how and why men have become so vain is only superficially explored. Do guys feel more secure using products, getting their backs waxed, or wearing male pantyhose? Perhaps. But Mansome trades only in generalities. Spurlock shows guys who are Botox-ed, or using male makeup—but his film is only skin deep.

Also Opening

Battleship Will this big budget adventure, based on the Hasbro game, sink or swim at the box office?

Bernie A dark comedy based on a true story, Bernie stars Jack Black as an assistant funeral home director who faces a crisis when he is asked to kill a rich widow (Shirley MacLaine) and then pretend she is still alive.

Crooked Arrows Brandon Routh stars as a half-breed forced to coach a high school lacrosse team on the rez.

The Dictator Sasha Baron Cohen is the title character looking for someone to “cuddle” in this fish-out-of-water comedy.

Losing Control A romantic comedy about a scientist grad student who wants her love life to be a controlled experiment.

Surviving Progress A documentary about progress in society in fields of technology, economics, and the environment.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting The trials and tribulations of pregnancy along with the joys of parenthood are explored in this comedy based on the popular book. Cameron Diaz and Chris Rock co-star.

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Gary Kramer

Gary M. Kramer is a Philadelphia-based film critic who thinks Sandra Bullock mambos. He likes eating ethnic food and watching ethnic movies—though not necessarily both at the same time or from the same country.

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