Reviews: Motivational Growth

Friends, now its time for a review of a Motivational Growth. Be scared.

"I said wha' chu lookin' at?"
Don Thacker’s Motivational Growth may be one of the most disgusting films ever made.  It will no doubt test the gag reflexes of avid fans of Hoarders as well as the patience of average film goers not ready to wallow in filth and vermin for two hours. The new film and debut of its writer director concerns Ian Foliver (Adrian DoGiovanni), a depressed, bearded introvert who neither leaves his squalid apartment nor bathes and his only friend is an outdated CRT television set he calls Kent.  

Equal parts a comic character study of a self-repressed loser in decomposition and surreal horror movie of burgeoning madness, Motivational Growth scuba dives deep into sewage and will either tease you in recycling your lunch or taking a hot, hot shower after it wraps.  Full of dirty walls and floors, multiple scenes of regurgitation, consumption of rotten mushrooms, rotting corpses, dismemberment, pimple popping and a talking hunk of mold, Motivational Growth can be, at times, a real chore to sit through.  

And yet it’s not completely without virtue either.  DoGiovanni’s acting as the possibly schizophrenic protagonist (or antagonist, depending on your point of view) is really strong and manages to evoke a degree of sympathy for the foul figure.  Aided by a competently rendered rubber puppet, Jeffrey Combs’ voice work as the titular mold gives the film something of a snarky personality and may well represent Ian’s personal battle with himself.  Cinematography and editing proves to be much sharper and fluid in movement than one would expect for a low budget effort primarily set inside Ian’s apartment. Calling attention to itself is Alex Mauer’s original score rendered by the obsolete Commodore 64’s SID chip, which sounds lifted right out of the early annals of late 70's computer gaming. 

Despite all of these invaluable assets in the film’s favor, Motivational Growth is difficult to recommend for being so completely oppressive.  Hampered by a sluggish pace and monologue after monologue delivered directly to the camera by both Ian and the mold, Motivational Growth slowly grows more taxing on the viewer’s investment and interest in the thing altogether.  While not outright bad or devoid of an interesting concept, overall the film spends more time with a guy we’d rather continue to pass on by after seeing him lying face down in an alleyway beside a smelly garbage dumpster.  Not for everybody and certainly not something this reviewer is inclined to watch again anytime soon.

-Andrew Kotwicki