This funny, loosely focused documentary by Morgan Spurlock deals with the notion of masculinity in modern society and the various methods that men choose to exhibit it. The film is broken up into several chapters, including “Beards”, “Moustaches,” “Grooming,” etc., each usually intertwining interviews with celebrities and “experts” alongside a sort of microcosm of the particular element. For example, for “Moustaches” we see Spurlock, himself, shaving off his trademark fuzz, and for “Beards”, we follow a particularly, um, endowed man as he competes in a Beard championship. Meanwhile, after every chapter, we are given a priming of the next subject by the executive producers, Bluth Brothers Will Arnett and Jason Bateman, as they enjoy a fine afternoon of primping at a posh day spa.
The film’s structure is so loose and so goofy, that there is no real profundity here, aside from maybe a few choice observations. The actual role of masucilinity in today’s culture isn’t really dealt with as much as a bunch of individual’s personal notions of what being a man means to them. Maybe being more direct with the subject would invite too many references to women and men’s ideas about women to keep the film light and frothy, I don’t know. What I do know is that, thankfully, the footage on display is, indeed, comical and entertaining enough to warrant a feature film. The mix of talking-head interviews and actual stories is handled well, and there is rarely a boring moment in the film (although the star-free beard segment runs a little long). The comedy stars they amassed for this thing are consistently funny, and land in killer barbs, including Paul Rudd, Judd Apatow, Zach Galifinakis, Adam Carolla, and the aformentioned Arnett and Bateman. Spurlock, himself, graciously limits his own presence to the Moustache chapter, and does not even include his voice as an interviewer beyond that segment. This is not a very deep or fascinating film, although the beard competition is an excellently foreign microcosm, but it is interesting and funny enough to make for a good viewing with crowd or on Netflix, where this will inevitably end up.
Recommended to fans of Spurlock, Arnett, Bateman, or this kind of jokey documentary. I would’ve liked a more serious examination at the current state of masculinity in American culture, but this is still pretty good.