"I think that men are having an identity crisis, but they don't really know it." So says "biological anthropologist" Helen Fisher, speaking in Morgan Spurlock's anecdotal pop documentary about masculine self-presentation in the 21st century, which allegedly attempts to define that crisis. Mansome is divided into chapters—"The Beard," "The Products," "The Hair"—which in turn each focus on eccentric subjects: a sad-eyed competitive beardsman named "Jack Passion," the manufacturer of a self-explanatory grooming gel called Fresh Balls, and an elderly Italian-American who runs a hair-replacement business in Yonkers. In interstitial bits that weld the disparate material together, co-executive producers Will Arnett and Jason Bateman show up, cracking wise through a salon makeover and setting the jokey tone. For Mansome's every truth ("Masculinity is performed for the evaluative eyes of other men"), a few dozen limp "bits" are provided by a roundtable of talking-head funnymen, including Zach Galifianakis, Judd Apatow (whose career has largely depended on that masculine "identity crisis"), and, as a defender of old-guard machismo, occupational boor Adam Carolla, giving a riff on shower gel that positively no one has been waiting for. While making a priority of squeezing in every usable bit of celebrity face time, Mansome passes by potentially interesting digressions without more than a wayward glance. It's the last thing you want a movie about appearances to be: superficial.
Arnett (left) and Bateman compare pedicures.
Opens Fri., May 18 at Varsity. Rated PG-13. 84 minutes.