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Time For The Big Boy Pants--An Indie Comedy Takes On The Man-Child Dilemma
on October 22, 2010
There's an appealing underdog quality at work in the indie comedy "Full Grown Men." The concept of the man-child has been explored endlessly--mainly in big budget romantic comedies where men are afraid to commit to a relationship or, indeed, to adulthood. You can always see where these movies are headed--growth, understanding, maturation, and redemption. It's time to put away the clown shoes and put on your big boy pants, so to speak. The refreshing thing about "Full Grown Men" is that while it is certainly headed in that direction, at least it takes a varied path. For this isn't a romantic comedy, it's played as a buddy comedy.
The man-child in question is played by Matt McGrath. McGrath is likable, thankfully, despite his haircut! When he walks out on his family after another argument about his immaturity, he starts to reflect on better days growing up. Reconnecting with his childhood pal (Juday Friedlander), he starts to understand how his playful taunts may have been less than appreciated. The two head out on a wacky roadtrip--Friedlander is a special needs teacher going to pick up an award and McGrath insinuates himself into the equation. Through random encounters and much bickering, McGrath starts to.....oh, you know already. Part of his education is provided by Friedlander's students and, although it gets close, it's more genuine and less cloying than you might imagine.
I did smile through much of the film, but it was a bit slight in the long run. The drama felt a little thin and the humor a little forced. Not a bad movie, it's a pleasant enough encounter. It's just not really going to resonate for me beyond the initial viewing. Judah Friedlander did play refreshingly against type, and his understated work was the strongest element in "Full Grown Men." Amy Sedaris and Alan Cumming provide inspired moments of insanity in bit roles--but it is these wild swings into outrageousness that maintain a somewhat uneven tone in this small film. Worth a look--I'd say especially for Friedlander. KGHarris, 10/10.