Oct 20 2013 – The Canadian Premiere of Motivational Growth was appropriately at the excellent Toronto After Dark Film Festival this year. The film is best described as a whacked out comedy and for people into genre films that is a very good thing.
From the opening credits of bizarre TV channel surfing to the first look at our couch potato protagonist the viewer is led to believe this is a variation of bizarro world we are witnessing. Never has a movie show such an emotionally depressing scene of a man dealing with his TV dying and screaming in agony at his loss all along with Atari era beeping as the soundtrack. Agoraphobic Ian Folivor (Adrian DiGiovanni) gives a monologue while looking right in the camera to let us know that his life is pretty hurting and even gives a recital on the process of his bowel movements while sitting on the crapper in his toilet which is in worse shape than the Toronto public transit’s lavatories at Bloor Station on a Saturday night.
Ian’s toilet is also the home for a talking pile of grime called The Mold (Jeffrey Combs). One will be led to believe that The Mold is the star of the movie but there is no doubt that the scum pile is as wise as Yoda and the spiritual advisor for Ian. The psychedelic mix of reality and fantasy world kicks off with a bang when Ian falls and hits his head and the bad acid trip is in full effect.
Seemingly the Mold is there to help Ian turn his life around as if perhaps it is the personification of Ian’s positive ego (ya no kidding). Ian’s crush with the girl next door Leah (Danielle Doetsch) is central to the movie and as Ian cleans himself up Leah plays a more prominent role in Ian’s comeback from the depths of despair.
The characters in the movie are all quirky and disturbing, the landlord, the TV repair guy (both of them), the grocery delivery gal, the girl next door and especially Ian and his Mold – combined some of the most bizarre characters ever seen on film. Case in point the girl next door is all smiles as she gets puked on with an improbably amount of green liquid.
Verdict – 3.5 out of 5. DiGiovanni is exceptional in his role and within half an hour it was uncomfortable watching Ian both from his unkempt appearance and his hopeless misery. Overall the movie is not your standard formulaic movie and may baffle many not prepared for the ride and are satisfied with standard formulas. We loved it! Only complain is it is just a tad too long and perhaps would be better served on a 90 minute vehicle.