Motivational Growth

Director: Don Thacker (2013)
Starring: Jeffrey Combs, Adrian DiGiovanni, Danielle Doetsch
Find it: IMDB

If there's one thing nobody warns you about when moving out of the family home and into a place of your own, it's how much of a bloody pain in the arse cleaning up after oneself is. One can sympathise with Ian (DiGiovanni), then, when he simply doesn't bother. To be fair to him, he is also suicidal. Again, if there's one thing nobody warns you about when turning 30 (give or take) it's the sense of futility and meaningless one can feel in this dead-end life. You can be anything, they tell you, growing up. Anything at all. You probably won't be, but you can. As you can tell, I connected with Motivational Growth on a very personal level. And not just because I never bother cleaning my shitter.*

After a suicide attempt goes terribly wrong, Ian finds himself taking advice from a talking lump of mold (voiced by the wonderful Jeffrey Combs). Pretty soon, Ian is shaving, putting on trousers in the morning and cleaning up both his act and his home. But at what cost? A series of visitors wind up only as food for the mold, which grows more and more powerful, even as Ian's home looks more outwardly normal and less like Fungus the Bogeyman's bedroom. It's a very compelling - if grimy - depiction of twenty - thirtysomething male depression. 

Beyond its smart story and impressive visuals, Motivational Growth is remarkably well turned out. Seeing Combs's name on the poster and credits, I had assumed that his role in the film would amount to little more than a headline-grabbing cameo for a quick and easy paycheck (Trejo's bread and butter these days) but his is a substantial screen presence in spite of a lack of actual, y'know, presence. Some good old-fashioned animatronics round off Combs's fun vocal performance, while DiGiovanni makes for an easygoing lead, like a grubby Tom Hanks in Cast Away. The bizarre writing and direction choices make it difficult to tell what's real or fantasy, while a number of hilarious spoof TV adverts and animated sequences keep the story's limited scope (set in just one location) feeling fresh and fun. Ian's would-be love interest (Leah, played by Danielle Doetsch) isn't so well-developed, but the actress's sparkiness and the smart writing paper over the cracks there, for the most part.

A thoroughly original low-budget gem, Motivational Growth makes great use of what it has - most notably, Jeffrey Combs's voice and a really, really gross looking bathroom.

*Toilet, not bumhole.

No comments:

Post a Comment