Leigh (Kristen Bell) is an almost thirty years old reporter working in the City. When the man she’s dating is getting engaged and she feels that her article about a man living with a tiger isn’t taken seriously she decides to move back to her hometown in Connecticut. Once there, she doesn’t have much to do. She reconnects with a couple friends, she reprises her high-school job as a lifeguard and hangs out with a couple local punks. Meanwhile her parents are uncomfortable with her moving back in (at least her mother is), her friends think she’s an arrogant selfish bitch (rightfully so) and the sixteen year old guy (David Lambert) she’s sleeping around with doesn’t think twice about leaving her to her miserable existence and move on with his life.
The Lifeguard is Liz W. Garcia‘s debut feature. Before that she worked as a writer and producer on television, which makes sense, because this film is like a bad soap opera. There is nothing cinematic about it. It looks terrible, just look at that shot (picture above). The cinematographer clearly doesn’t know what he’s supposed to do; I call that bad directing (on every level). The editing is bad as well and I’m not just referring to image editing, but also sound editing. The wanna-be-cool soundtrack is lousy and the music is over-used. The acting, aside from Kristen Bell and Adam LeFevre (who should fire their agents for picking this “script”), is horrendous and the script is a convoluted, unfunny mess. The characters are a collection of clichés and their action are exclusively plot-serving.
“Normal people don’t act that way”. This film was not inspired by real-life: It’s a rip off of bad melodramas, but it can’t even fully commit to be that, because it’s trying to be oh-so-indie slash art house resulting in bad unintentional parody. There are problems on every level. The filmmaker is clearly infusing its character with judgmental quirks that that are supposed to be witty, but fall flat and are not even enjoyable on a “so bad it’s good” level. Thus the resulting “drama” and “catharsis” are anything but earned and as inauthentic as it gets. The plot doesn’t move along organically. The romance is kitschy and stereotypical. The sex is not sexy, and that has to be an achievement of sorts with two good-looking leads and a swimming pool at night set-up. It seems as though they were attempting a carbon copy of Jason Reitman’s masterpiece Young Adult, but completely failed on every level.
It is absolutely impossible to sympathize with the main character. Not only is she immature, but she also has a self-righteous attitude, like she’s somehow better than anyone else. She is the definition of a self-centered, egomaniacal narcissist. In fact, none of the main characters in this film are even remotely likable. The story couldn’t be more far from reality or anything that is in the realm of believability. To top it off, the film ends, with Kirsten Bell staring at the audience for no good reason! In the midst of puke-worthy writing you even almost forget that there is no real ending. There is no point to this film, but not in a good way. I’m sure the filmmaker had some kind of point, whatever that was, but it is just suffocated by a sea of crappy dialogue and razzie-worthy screenwriting.
Rating on First & Last Viewing
(on my laptop)
1.5 out of 10