In the opening song to the classic TV program All in the Family, Archie Bunker longs for a time in which “girls were girls and men were men”, and that was in the 1960s, back when only women wore earrings and used beauty creams, and when there was no overlap between the body parts that men shaved and the parts that women shaved. I can’t imagine the stream of curses and bigotry that would come out of his mouth if he were around to see modern society.
We may not have Archie Bunker, but we do have Morgan Spurlock, and he’s willing to talk to people about hard-hitting topics like facial hair and body hair and hair replacement. In fact, while the documentary is supposed to be an exploration of masculinity in the face of things like manscaping and metrosexuality, it doesn’t seem to stray all that far from hair. There’s a long discussion about moustaches, followed by an even longer discussion of beards. Many of the same people (Judd Apatow, Paul Rudd, Adam Carolla, Zach Galifianakis, and Isaiah Mustafa aka the Old Spice guy) are interviewed on both topics, but we get special moustache attention from director John Waters, and beard love from Jack Passion (winner of numerous beard competitions) and members of the band ZZ Top.
The film also takes an extended look at other topics like the hair that’s supposed to be on top of your head and what you can do if your body stops putting it there, and the hair that’s not supposed to be on your back and what you can do if your body keeps putting it there. It has a brief discussion of a cream intended to address a male affliction known as bat wings (consult Urban Dictionary at your peril), a professional wrestler of middle-eastern origin who feels the need to shave his entire body before each match, and another man of middle-eastern origin who is only about halfway through his own ten-step process of fine-tuning his appearance. And throughout the entire documentary, Jason Bateman and Will Arnett mock and trivialize all of the topics being discussed while they spend the day together relaxing at a spa.
The film doesn’t really take itself very seriously (and for good reason, because none of the topics has any degree of importance), but it seems kind of cruel to some of the subjects who clearly feel differently. Despite the heavy reliance on popular comedians, nothing really makes it past the point of mild amusement, although there are a couple of moments that devolve into the disgusting. But the vast majority of the 85-minute runtime is sheer boredom. There were only two other people in the theater for the screening I attended, and while all three of us (lone men, by the way) stayed until the credits started rolling, we also all left immediately, completely apathetic toward the remaining interviews playing during the credits.