Growing old sucks. And I don’t mean that in the “we’re all going to die, ouch my hip, why won’t you change my diapers, I changed yours” way, but moreso the “reality is hard, happiness is temporary, be an adult” perspective. It is in the latter mode of thinking that the lead character of David Munro’s “Full Grown Men” dwells.
Alby (Matt McGrath) is a married father of one, he collects vintage action figures and he’s about as mature as a six year old. When his wife goes one insult too far in a squabble regarding Alby painting his kid’s face with eyeliner, calling Alby “pathetic,” Alby decides to abandon his family and go to Diggityland (Disneyland proxy). He makes a brief visit to his mother’s (who appears to be suffering from Alzheimers) and attempts to get back together with his childhood friend Elias (Judah Friedlander), culminating in the two travelling together to Diggityland.
The film, once Alby and Elias are on the road, then goes through one absurd moment after another. There’s a deranged soldier / former Diggityland mascot (Alan C*****g), a lecherous poolboy in a retirement community and even a beatdown by a crew of midgets. All hilarious and fun. If only the same could be said for Alby.
Alby, in his stunted maturation, is nothing more than an irresponsible jerk. He tortured his best friend growing up (as kids tend to do), and seemingly never gets it into his head that he may’ve done quite a bit to mentally scar his buddy. His mentality is just that everyone has grown up, life isn’t fun anymore and he wishes he were back in the easier times. But really, he’s just insanely selfish. Every action is one of self-preservation or self-gratification, and as a lead character it is very hard to ever feel for him. In fact, you really start to hate him. By the end of the film, I can’t be sure that he actually made any changes as a person, or if he just ran out of steam, like a child who needs a nap.
As far as the other characters go, Judah Friedlander’s portrayal of the “Boy Who Survived Being Friends with Alby” is solid, as he shows the conflict of knowing how poorly he was treated by his friend growing up, but being too big-hearted and kind not to be there when the chips are really down. If you get behind any character’s corner in the film, it’s Judah’s Elias, and you have to wonder why the film didn’t instead tell his story more than focusing on Alby’s maturity issues.
In the end, “Full Grown Men” tells an amusing tale, and the cameo scenes from Alan C*****g and Amy Sedaris are not to be missed, but due to the inability to appreciate Alby, the film never elevates itself. As an audience member, you want to like your lead, or at least find something redeeming in him. Unfortunately, this never happens. Yes, Alby, as you state in the movie, you are not funny.