Mansome (documentary)

With “Mansome,” Morgan Spurlock had the opportunity to make a fascinating documentary about men’s grooming habits, and what it means to be “masculine” in the 21st century. Instead, he made a shallow, disposal trifle about beards and waxing: the People magazine version of anthropology.

Mixed with fluffy vignettes about beard-growing competitions and hirsute professional wrestlers who have to shave their body hair are comments by celebrities like John Waters, Judd Apatow, and Zach Galifianakis, with interstitial scenes of Jason Bateman and Will Arnett riffing while they get spa treatments. Most of the celeb commentary is reasonably funny but uninteresting; most of the material focusing on “regular people” is just uninteresting.

No one ever accused Spurlock of being a hard-hitting investigative documentarian. But his previous films — fast-food shockumentary “Super Size Me”, politically minded “Where in the World Is Osama Bin Laden?,” and “The Greatest Movie Ever Sold” (about product placement) — at least contained information that the average person didn’t already know, and presented it in an entertaining fashion. That isn’t the case here.

Since nobody told Spurlock that he doesn’t HAVE to do some kind of personal stunt for each movie, in this one he shaves off his own facial hair … which was thin, wispy, and light in color to begin with, so its absence is hardly noticeable. That seems like an apt metaphor for the movie as a whole. It reminded me most of those VH1 shows like “I Love the ’90s”: people crack jokes about the topic at hand, and you get a few laughs and zero insights.

C (1 hr., 22 min.; PG-13, some profanity and crude language.)