“Welcome to the Men’s Room” Releasing on Digital November 9th
Reviewed By: Paula Ilonze
Welcome to the Men’s Group is a lighthearted film that makes you laugh at how silly it is, but still tackles the very pertinent issue of male mental health. Joseph Culp directed and starred in the film (as Michael), with Co-Writer Scott Ben-Tashar The film stars Timothy Bottoms (Larry), Mackenzie Astin (Tom), Phil Abrams (Neil), David Clennon (Fred), Stephen Tobolowsky (Carl), Ali Saam (Muhammed), and Terence J. Rotolo (Eddie).
“Welcome to the Men’s Room” releasing November 9 on digital.
The group consists of zany, highly-energized middle-aged men who have created a support group, which is a unique revolutionary concept in itself because it’s typically women who lean on each other in organized social groups like this.
Part of their monthly ritual is that they have this testosterone-filled tribal manifesto that presumably makes them feel manlier, and the barbaric theme is intertwined throughout the entire film. An interesting aspect of Welcome to the Men’s Group is that the entire film is shot on one set: Larry’s living room.
For the entire two hours, you watch the eight men in the living room wrestling with revealing their inner thoughts, the things that torment and keep them up at night. Because despite forming the men’s group for the purpose of sharing their feelings about life, it’s still hard for them to relinquish their bravado and let their guards down.
A big theme throughout the film is the negative impact their fathers had on them growing up, and how it affects who they are today. In a world where it’s common to hear about girls having “daddy issues”, it’s an interesting and accurate reversal to see men so negatively affected by their dads, too.
The men don’t seem to be all too supportive of each other in the group, however. They cut each other off and are passive aggressive. But in the end, in order to rid the group of all the tension that had been building, they physically stripped down to nothing, until they were completely bare, and got to the bare bones of their primal selves. It’s ironic that it really did turn out to be the “men running around in their weenies” gathering that Larry’s daughter jokingly said it would be.
The next few scenes with the men all dancing around with their mother nature swinging was a little uncomfortable, but if the point was to show that they had figuratively let their hair down, it landed. Just when you think the men have made up after the “naked truth”, they break out into another altercation over whether or not Michael slept with Larry’s 19-year-old daughter.
They spent a good chunk of time in the last 20 minutes of the film grilling Michael about what happened on the night of the alleged sexual triste. That scene was anticlimactic because after the men didn’t believe his initial story that all he and Larry’s daughter did was talk, he finally revealed the truth: they kissed. Pretty PG-13.
After that revelation, one more mental breakdown, this time from Michael, was briefly tossed in before the film’s closing. After that, the men quickly clothed themselves and disbanded as if nothing happened.
Welcome to the Men’s Group successfully combined obnoxious humor with a delicate issue. The cast did a stand-up job at embodying how real men interact with one another and reminded us that everyone needs a brotherhood.