What a weird, interesting and thought-provoking movie Motivational Growth is. Written and directed by Don Thacker, it stars Adrian DiGiovanni as Ian Folivor, a depressed mess of a man. He hasn’t left his dump of an apartment in many months, doesn’t bathe and avoids all human contact. The highlight of his days, the reminder that he is still alive are his bowel movements. Something he explains in detail during an incredible opening monologue where we get to know him as he talks to the camera.
Truth be told there really isn’t much to keep Ian going and when his companion, Kent (an old TV) dies he decides to end it all. However, he’s such a loser that he fails at this too, falling and hitting his head on the bathtub.
When he wakes he discovers that the mold in his bathroom can now talk. A charming and confident being voiced by Jeffery Combs. It promises Ian that if he follows instructions he will be able to turn his life around and the payoff will be worth it.
The driving force of this movie is DiGiovanni as Ian and Combs as the Mold. The former is fantastic and completely believable. It’s so easy to get behind him as he starts to turn his life around aided by Combs’ Mold.
As things get better for him, Ian meets his neighbour Leah (Danielle Doetsch) and falls madly in love with her. She’s not put off by his quirks as she has plenty of her own too. The pair have good chemistry and their initial interaction is really endearing. Another role worth praising is Ian’s landlord, Box the Ox (Pete Giovagnoli) who offers up plenty comedic moments as a bit of a goon but one willing to give Ian a bit of a break. There isn’t a bad actor or character in Motivational Growth with each one offering something unique to the story.
Talking of which…
The story is well put together and the use of 8-bit chip-tunes and video-game style cut-scenes add much to the overall look and feel of the movie. However, it does begin to lose its way in the final third as the weirdness is dialled up and it begins to confuse. Is any of this real or is it all in his head? This is compounded by the finale that might alienate a fair few viewers.
It’s a real shame as up to that point, Motivational Growth is an excellent movie. One that asks you to invest in characters worth investing in. The visual tricks really add a lot and while it is light on gore, it does have plenty of gross out moments. Such as Ian vomiting goo, rotting bodies and fungus eating!
It’s a really weird film but credit where credit is due, it’s a unique idea that works mostly overall.
The Final Score - 7.5/10