Monday, September 29, 2014

Movie Review: Motivational Growth (2013)

I hate to constantly use the phrase "this movie was not what I expected it to be" but... this movie was not what I expected it to be. In fact, Motivational Growth was much better than I could have hoped for. There have been a couple times now where movies with the dumbest premises ever have turned out to be brilliantly done, and I seriously love movies like that.

Motivational Growth is the story of Ian Folivor, a young man who is obviously depressed and has not left his apartment in over a year. After the death of his television set Kent, he tries to kill himself in his bathroom but fails - and begins to turn his life around by taking advice from a chatty growth of mold in his gross bathroom. The Mold claims to want to help Ian, but are its intentions really good, or evil?

With its small but dynamic cast and limited location, Motivational Growth is truly a brilliant film - it just chooses to deal with its subject matter in a very unconventional way, which can often lead to something much more intriguing than just a straight drama or comedy film. Though Motivational Growth was much more serious than the trailer led me to believe, I found myself really enjoying the fact that it was more than just a goofy comedy, and even more enjoying how beautifully filmed and acted the movie was. Even Ian's disgusting apartment is somehow beautiful to me because of the talent it shows for set design. In fact, there are many different talents at work in Motivational Growth, both on and off screen, and I know that this review is not going to do them all justice.

The dialogue is really the shining star of Motivational Growth. Its dry wit and cultural references made it possible for the writer to sneak in humor all throughout the film, even though the premise of the film itself should have provided enough humor. Ian serves not only as the film's main character but also as its narrator, as there are several times when he breaks the fourth wall to give some more direct character insight to the audience. He also provides some great lines of dialogue that truly made me laugh out loud - "If it wasn't for the sores, I don't think I'd have a reason to get up at all,"  "Panic is a weird state. Not like Wyoming is a weird state, either..." Each character that comes into Ian's life has their own crazy personality that is accentuated and expressed through their speech, and they were all awesome to meet.

Actor Adrian DiGiovanni couldn't be more perfect as Ian; he not only looks the part, but he plays him as so wonderfully lovable and pitiful at the same time. Genre favorite Jeffrey Combs provides the voice of The Mold, and he expertly and hilariously delivers every run-on, rambling line of dialogue that The Mold spews out. Seriously, I lost track of what he was saying half the time but it was still fun to listen to him talk. Danielle Doetsch is ridiculously cute as Leah, the object of Ian's affections, and her upbeat acting will just bring a huge smile to your face. My favorite character was actually Vanessa the grocery delivery girl, with her no-nonsense attitude and pink hair highlights. Two television repair men, a nice but scary landlord, and some very interesting fake television stars round out the rest of this oddball group of characters.

The ending of Motivational Growth is a hard one for me to figure out. The biggest reason for this is because it seems to have about three different endings at the same time so I am totally at a loss as to what really happened with Ian. (Here, I'll reluctantly give a SPOILER warning.) The emotional side of me wants to believe that The Mold and all the strange occurrences were maybe just all in Ian's head and that it was his own willpower and the inspiration of Leah that made him turn his life around and get the girl in the end. However, the logical side of me has me more believing that Ian's suicide attempt was actually successful and that that vision of his liquefying body on the bathroom floor was real. But whatever the vehicle - dream or not or whatever - Ian still walks out of his apartment at the end of the film, hand in hand with Leah, and that's really all you want to see for the character throughout the movie. And I thank the filmmakers for giving that to me.

It doesn't matter whether you get a deep message out of Motivational Growth or if you just watch it to laugh your butt off listening to Jeffrey Combs's voice coming out of an animated mold puppet thing. There are few films that can compare with the uniqueness of Motivational Growth and that is no doubt its strength and what will draw a lot of curious movie-watchers to it. Just remember: The Mold knows, Jack. The Mold knows.

Thanks to October Coast PR for the screener! Motivational Growth will be available on VOD on September 30, 2014 and its US DVD release is October 7, 2014.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome review, hopefully it will appear on Netflix in the near future. Keep up the good work!
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