Dave’s 4-Word Review:
Kristen Bell: Statutory Rapist
Nowadays, you can practically expect actors, typically actresses, to feel an urge to prove themselves. The fear of being a typecast lingers on in their brain, lying to them that if they want to prove they have real talent…they must do something they never have before. While other actresses understandably translate that to nudity, Kristen Bell took a different approach…and it’s a strange choice. The Lifeguard has less to do with “guarding lives” than it does with selfish, careless desires in what I like to call a reverse coming-of-age flick.
Leigh (Kristen Bell) has everything in place for a life. She works as a reporter for the Associated Press, she’s dating her co-star from NBC’s Heroes…life is good. Everything changes when she falls into a story of a tiger being locked inside someone’s apartment, chained to the radiator, where it eventually died of starvation. Apparently, this revealed in her a self-cage of sorts, which can be loosely translated as life. She didn’t like how life was a dish best served cold, and returned back home, moved in with her parents again, and started seeing a 16 year-old boy. You heard right, ladies and gents. She sees him, in and out of his clothes, to enhance the graphics for you. This was all done to help her find self-actualization…or something.
Now, everything seems to point to coming-of-age for this film. She does in fact need to learn a valuable lesson to return to the outside world…but the problem arises when we know she was already there to begin with. I do understand that we need breaks, or vacations, but as her mother said in the film, we all do. We can’t always get what we want. All this film really felt like was a big step in the wrong direction for Bell’s character. It made her look immature, stupid, and quite frankly, like a pedophile. You can be carefree, but come on, this movie just took that to a whole other level of creepiness. I am not quite sure if that was intended as a form of closure for something her character was sour about not experiencing, but it was just…a big what?
Okay, so I didn’t like the premise. I did like how it was presented. A lot. This movie looks fantastic. It sounds fantastic. There was clearly a lot of hard work that was put into the production of this feature. The tone keeps a consistent feel throughout. I also realized that the small town the film takes place in was organized really well. I knew where the characters were at all times, as if I lived in the town myself. That’s great for the setting. The actors performed brilliantly. It is astonishing how different Kristen Bell can look when they slap off the makeup she is usually found in. Suddenly, she’s like a whole different person for it, and yet, she never needed it to begin with. The rest of the cast, for the most part, were primarily unknowns. I would normally think that one known actor in a film would put the rest off, but all it did was give Bell the proper focus the film needed. The rest of the actors did quite a remarkable job.
Now, I will say the other negative aspect to this film is chemistry. In my honest opinion, the chemistry between the actors could have used a lot of improvement. I wouldn’t say the chemistry was horrible, but it just didn’t have the natural feel that others like it would. It was, for the most part, so-so.
Overall, I think if the chemistry and premise had more focus, then the movie would be more entertaining. From a behind-the-scenes perspective, they did a great job with the filmmaking aspect. Absolutely. I personally did not like the movie for the movie. You may be different. Let me know what you thought of The Lifeguard. Like it, hate it, unsure about it? Let me know!