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Review – Motivational Growth

Boax art for Don Thacker's Motivational Growth.
Box art for Motivational Growth.

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After a failed suicide attempt, Ian begins a bizarre friendship with the mold growing in his bathroom. The mold helps Ian get his life back on track and helps him regain a his will to live. But Ian soon learns that the mold may have designs on more than just helping Ian reintegrate into the world. It seems that the mold is masterminding a grand scene in which Ian is merely a pawn.

I had a fairly open mind going into Motivational Growth. I’d read primarily positive reviews of the film and found the premise to be imaginative. As it turns out, I was somewhere in the middle on this title. Films that fall in-between good and bad are the most difficult to critique because there isn’t a lot to rave about but there isn’t a lot to rip apart either. With that said, there are things that I really enjoyed about  Motivational Growth and others about which I was less enthusiastic. Motivational Growth is really a mixed bag in almost every regard.

The film’s premise is original and humorous but it devolves into being downright weird at times. The script and concept on which the film is based around have a lot of potential but it doesn’t always live up to that potential.

Jeffrey combs is brilliant as the mold. His voice acting ability is very impressive. Combs has some great one liners. His insistence upon referring to Ian as Jack is amusing. Ian’s landlord also has some great dialogue. For example: “Open up or I’m gonna exercise my right to fist f–k your face!”

There was not enough exposition regarding why Ian is in the depressed and disaffected state he is in. The viewer just has to accept that he has hit rock bottom but is given nearly no idea what led him there and in turn has little reason to find empathy for him. In spite of that Adrian DiGiovanni does a good job in his portrayal of the character. It’s just unfortunate that we weren’t given more of a reason to invest in him.

Motivational Growth has moments of brilliance but suffers from a lack of focus and pacing issues. It is quite enjoyable up until the third act, at which point it starts to go off the rails. Where the film really begins to decline is at the point where Leah (Danielle Doetsch of Bikini Girls on Ice) is introduced. She is way too far over the top and her witty banter gets very old, very quickly. She seems to have no common sense, either. For example, in the scene where Ian pukes all over her for the better part of 20 seconds, she makes no attempt to move out of the way. She just sits there like a human vomit bag.

The film is set up like a video game adapted for the screen and that works at times but at others it does not. There are some really clever and very amusing animated sequences and cutaways but since they serve very little purpose, it becomes tedious after a point.

Motivational Growth is now playing in select theaters and is available via VOD as well. I would suggest waiting for this one to hit the Netflix streaming platform. It’s probably worth checking out but there’s no need to rush out and see it immediately.

WICKED RATING: 5/10  [usr 5]

Director(s): Don Thacker
Writer(s): Don Thacker
Stars: Adrian DiGiovanni, Jeffrey Combs
Year: 2013
Studio/ Production Co: Devolver Digital Films
Budget: $176,000 (Estimated)
Language: English
Length: 104 Minutes
Sub-Genre: Horror-Comedy


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Written by Tyler Doupé
Tyler Doupe' is the managing editor at Wicked Horror. He has previously penned for Fangoria Mag, Rue Morgue Mag, FEARnet, Fandango, ConTV, Ranker, Shock Till You Drop, ChillerTV, ComingSoon, and more. He lives with his husband, his dog, and cat hat(s).
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