CRUMBLIES…  3 crumblies

Suppose your experience of life’s middle years is that of most men: working all day to keep the family housed and fed. And the people who don’t work. And all the ones who want a health service. And all the ones who claw the winnings out of life and don’t pay their personal or corporate tax. And those who ‘lead’ your firm with lovely comments like, “thank you, but we can only pay ourselves what we can afford”. And, when you get home, you find yourself cleaning, washing and working with the kids in some kind of balance with a partner who now takes their rest…

Suppose you lived like that – grasping weakly to the wage train like some kind of success object, disdained for your masculinity, presence of desires and – those final cultural crimes: remembering the 1970s, hiding the pain, putting all this over the need to be understood and simply loved. Cos you were buying that for later: you were working to make a current world safe for others, and a future one safe for you…

And then she sleeps with a gobby, archly poetic wastrel half your age.

Such is nearly the problem of Thomas Haden Church’s Grady in this shiny new muse on the male condition – Crash Pad. It’s not told from his point of view, of course.

Our hero is the wastrel, the delightfully puckish Domhnall Gleeson as Stensland. He sleeps with Grady’s wife, Morgan (the tangibly under-used Christina Applegate), who dumps him after two days. He charges off into sappy days of rewatching VHS copies of Dawson’s Creek while off his head. He threatens to tell Grady – demanding money – and then the real story arrives. Grady comes round to beat him into a pulpy mess and instead moves in.

The whole thing is funny and fun. They go clubbing, with Grady trying to make a playboy of Stensland. Grady’s avowed intent is revenge sex with a stranger, but he avoids this in the shallows of the night and drags Stensland into a well-earned punishment of dance and drink.

And then it gets pat. Neither of them, ultimately are the playboy they claim or want to be…and Stensland baits Grady into a race back to Morgan…

Is it worth your time?

Old Jack was irritated by the assumptions made about Grady. Given what society expects of men – piling on more domestic demands without removing the corporate success demands; demanding new sexuality rules without accepting responsibility for any of the past – it is a shame to see him slowly collapse into something so soft. Be masculine in your emotional honesty, man… But both men earn their better states at the close of Crash Pad. Morgan is forgiven, because, you know, she was desperately wronged before betraying husband and marriage. And Stensland sort of grows and gets a kiss in the last reel. So…if these things give you heart and faith in the future of men, then give it a go.

If you feel your identity has been fixed for fifty plus years and its presumed failure comes with assumed blame on you…give it a miss.

It is funny, mind. And on iTunes.