S&M SHORT AND MALE (Howard Goldberg). 86 minutes. Opens Friday (May 16) at AMC Yonge & Dundas 24. See listings. Rating: NNN
Tired of being rejected by women and undervalued by society, director Howard Goldberg examines the long and short of being short.
He discovers some eye-popping facts. For instance, a man’s salary jumps $1,000 a year with each inch in his height. And don’t bother making a dropoff at a sperm bank if you’re less than 5-foot-11; most prospective mothers won’t be buying.
Crossing the pond, Goldberg finds that things are much different in France, where Napoleon casts a long shadow and the country’s new leader, Nicolas Sarkozy, is a mere 5-foot-4.
References to pop culture abound (sadly, Randy Newman’s Short People was too costly to be included on the soundtrack), and a visit to a Beverly Hills boutique frequented by famous short guys (Dustin Hoffman, Jason Alexander) is lots of fun. A shame one of those celebs doesn’t appear on camera.
Goldberg also takes a sober look at painful height-enhancing surgery that involves breaking your bones and stretching. For one immigrant South Asian family, it’s worth it to see their son gain an extra 21/2 inches.
An illuminating trip to China shows how, because of globalization, companies there are beginning to discriminate on the basis of height in their hiring practices.
At the end, Goldberg brings the subject home in a discussion with his son, delivering a nice emotional touch to an underappreciated topic.