Full Grown Men (2008)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Road Movie  |   Release Date - Jun 27, 2008 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 78 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Full Grown Men is obviously an ironic title. When we first meet Alby (Matt McGrath), he's doing about the least grown-up thing you could imagine -- he's walking out on his wife and son, to make a pilgrimage to a fictionalized version of Disneyland. Clearly, this man is in a state of arrested development, and to back that up, McGrath looks ten years younger than he actually is -- too young for the paternal and spousal roles expected of him. Which doesn't excuse his complete abdication of those responsibilities. And after getting off on this wrong foot with us, Alby never recovers -- a real problem for any protagonist. A strange dynamic soon develops in which his childhood best friend (30 Rock's Judah Friedlander), who would normally be the bumbling comic relief (as Friedlander is on 30 Rock), becomes the sympathetic straight man, while Alby becomes more unhinged and disagreeable with each passing minute. Actually, writer-director David Munro can't decide who should be playing which role -- from scene to scene, he randomly switches which character is irritated with which for acting too immature. It's just one of the many flaws of this going-nowhere script, which doesn't have much to say, but at least requires only 78 minutes to, um, not say it. Full Grown Men is the unfortunate byproduct of the current state of indie film, which has become too tolerant of this kind of loosey-goosey filmmaking. There's a reason traditional narrative structures and character roles became the standard, a standard that even the best indie films only tweak mildly. This indie, on the other hand, proceeds on the incorrect assumption that quirky adventures and random characters have some kind of intrinsic value, one that supersedes all other narrative requirements. Full Grown Men is a half-grown movie.