MOTIVATIONAL GROWTH (Don Thacker). 105 minutes. Sunday (October 20), 9:30 pm.
TORONTO AFTER DARK FILM FESTIVAL from tonight (Thursday, October 17) to October 25. Scotiabank Theatre. $10-$13, passes available. See Indie & Rep Film. torontoafterdark.com. Rating: NN
The thing about weirdness is that it has to be cast in relief in order to work.
Beardo hermit Ian (Adrian DiGiovanni) hasn’t strayed outside in 16 months, preferring to lie in front of the TV wallowing in his own filth. The appearance of a talking hillock of mould (voiced by Re-Animator’s Jeffrey Combs) pushes Ian to get his shit together: tidy his place, clip his beard, make advances on the cute neighbour across the way.
The film layers on its quirk and self-conscious eccentricity (kooky characters, old-school video game graphics, chiptune soundtrack), but there’s no reality to ground the weirdness.
And it doesn’t help that the writing and performances are uncomfortably stilted, almost every line betraying Thacker’s desperation to sound clever.