My Rating: 3 stars
People really loved this movie. But, I just found it to be really depressing. I guess the movie is supposed to be about the soul-crushing dreariness of living in the suburbs. The action is set in and around one of those struggling, suburban, strip mall gyms. It’s the kind that caters to soccer moms, and pudgy dads who have just watched 300, and have convinced themselves that they can totally get rippling abs again like they had in college. It’s really dismal. The whole thing just made me want to lay down and never get up again. So, I guess the movie was very effective at getting its point across. But I wouldn’t say that I liked that movie. It actually put me in such a bad mood that I found myself wondering why anyone bothers to go on living at all, since everything is meaningless. So, I’m a little baffled as to why this movie went over so well.
Maybe people really liked that cast. Guy Pearce plays the uber-fit, rock hard, clean living owner of the place. He’s committed to the lifestyle, so he’s in total denial that the business is failing. And, Cobie Smulders is ravishing as the lithe and sculpted, yet obsessively committed, drill sergeant type of personal trainer. She’s scarily aggressive. She figures that if she can wake up at 5am to get her cardio in, and resist the siren song of those cupcakes in the break room, then all her middle aged clients should be able to as well. And, she has no tolerance for slip-ups. Imagine a shrill harpy berating you every time you make a sub-optimal fitness decision. It’s a nightmare. Kevin Corrigan plays Cobie’s schlubby new client. And, he plays disgusting pretty well. This guy is a little different from her usual clients in that he feels no shame. She can yell at him ‘til her face turns blue, but he won’t feel bad about scarfing down a bag of cheese doodles, or devouring a whole cake after coming home from a workout. It seems like he’s mostly into it to get a little personal attention from a foxy trainer in stretchy pants. I guess that’s harmless enough.
All the acting is really good. But, that just wasn’t enough to let me enjoy such a dispiriting script. All of the characters are selfish and stubborn, and none of them is mature enough to learn any hard lessons. These are the worst kinds of people. I wouldn’t want to have anything to do with them in real life, so I certainly wasn’t enjoying getting better acquainted with them in this film. I really don’t know if I want to recommend this movie to anyone. I didn’t enjoy it at all. But other people seemed to really like it, so I’d feel bad about warning you away from it if the plot sounds interesting to you. So, maybe just use my method and disregard any reviews that don’t seem like they apply to you.