Following a breakup with his girlfriend, My Stuff (2013) director Petri Luukkainen decides to put all of his worldly possessions into storage and retrieve them one item per day, ridding himself of the ennui caused by his cluttered life. Helped by friends who look on with a mixture of wry amusement, scepticism and bewilderment, Petri empties his flat and flees naked back home. And so begins a one-year experiment during which he’s not allowed to buy new stuff and will hopefully work out the value of the things he’s accrued during his short life. Directed by its subject, My Stuff is possibly the most uninteresting piece of narcissistic twaddle you’ll ever have the misfortune of viewing.
To begin with, 24-year-old Petri’s unique brand of affluenza doesn’t seem grounded in anything other than a vague huffiness about ‘stuff’, informed by his recent romantic split. That real life is crammed with clichés can be seen as Petri finds truth from the mouths of babes and the aged. Prior to beginning his folly, Petri visits his greying grandmother, who provides us such pearls of wisdom as “Life was harder during the war” and “Stuff doesn’t make you happy”. Later, a young cousin asks a series of WTF questions to Petri’s hilarious delight. The actual experiment in ‘creative living’ is itself unclear as Petri decides not to collect possessions some days and then has to compromise his fast because of work.
Luukkainen himself is a dourly unfunny and uncharismatic presence. As punchable as Morgan Spurlock can be, he at least puts some zip into proceedings, but when he isn’t moaning he’s sniggering at his own self-made predicament. Petri spends large expanse of his film moping around, whilst occasionally laughing at the moustache he’s accidentally grown (that, by the way, is the comic high point of the film). Elsewhere, a dramatic highpoint involves his new girlfriend’s broken fridge – but we won’t spoil the twist. My Stuff has no philosophical underpinning; it’s not an attack on consumerism or a Walden-like retreat from the world, but rather an indulgent holiday into the self. Luukkainen doesn’t attempt to get anything as coherent or interesting as a critique together, settling for a barely interesting conclusion that “Things aren’t everything”.