Review: How to Be a Man
Written by Steven Panzarella(@ProCreateSteve)
The Short- How to Be a Man gets off to an inauspicious start as each scene attempts to raise the bar from frontal male nudity to incredibly dirty language. At the half way mark How to Be a Man decides to be more than a dirty comedy and the characters who inhabit the story begin to flesh out into people who are just attempting to cope with their situations. At times How to Be a Man is absolutely ridiculous and at other times its thought provoking madness clears up our idiotic main character to show how real the people around him are.
Long Version- A friend of mine referred me to How to Be a Man weeks before its march Netflix release, after finally getting around to it for the first 45 minutes I teetered on the edge of liking the movie but loathing its main character. Mark (Gavin McInnes) is a former comedian who is struggling to accept a rare form of cancer he has just found out he has, without telling his wife (Megan Neuringer) he decides to hire a recent college graduate Bryan (Liam Aiken) to help him shoot a number of videos chronicling the many ways for his not yet born child “to be a man”. McInnes’ shameless performance is totally insane but feels natural as he curses, drinks, and drugs his way through each and every scene. It actually takes almost halfway through the film to get acclimated to Mark considering on one hand what he is attempting to do is very sweet; the way he does it is not. Maybe Mark is an idiot or maybe he is just going through a total breakdown either way it takes a while to come to grips that the guy is absolutely losing his mind. McInnes is not the only actor in this movie and his work is matched by Liam Aiken (The Road to Perdition, The Killer Inside Me) Aiken plays the stoner college graduate hired to make Mark’s movie, He is for the most part the one thing keeping Mark from totally losing his mind but can’t stop the inevitable drug use, and random sex acts that keep Mark spiraling out of control. Aiken is funny, and at times is able to allow the viewer to accept Mark as he tries to do the same.
How to Be a Man may come off at first as an opportunity for the filmmakers to play a game of chicken as Mark begins his downward spiral into all the things he believes a man should do from fighting, to random sex in a bathroom stall, to finding an old friend who has been clean from using meth for years and forcing him off the wagon. All of these things one way or another are things Mark does to impress on his son the duties of a man “You order the cheapest beer in the bar, men don’t drink wine” Yet in the film’s final sequence once Bryan (And you the viewer) has fully understood why we are here and once Mark finally gets his head together How to Be a Man is actually an enjoyable little indie flick about a former comedian who loses his head and the kid that helps him get it back. It also helps to note that in one of the final scenes in the movie you realize Mark's crisis was less about Cancer and more about growing up.
The cast is funny, the script is witty once it stops trying to get people to turn it off and if you like movies that age like a fine wine then maybe How to Be a Man is the movie for you. It truly is a game of chicken and if you win that game you are treated to a surprise indie film that is better then it seems.