Saturday, January 9, 2010

Heavenly Bodies

(Lawrence Dane, 1984)
The obvious problem with any film about aerobics is that there's no endgame. It's not a competitive sport, nor a visually graceful one; it's just solitary individuals bouncing up and down in a group. So of course there's an evil big gym that wants to foil the ladies' modest enterprise, and of course there's a climactic 'challenge' where the two sides bounce up and down in a group until they fall over. Some kind of contrivance was bound to get imposed on the subject matter just to keep things moving. If only it did the job. Instead, the lumpy narrative features totally alienated go-for-it plot arcs crammed into the first and second half, so that any slight chance for momentum is fully lost in the ocean of distressed bodies. They were really asking for it by invoking the holy name of Gene Kelly when the only thing resembling a production number - Cynthia Dale cavorting around the TV studio - plays like a tentative first rehearsal. Dale is too cutesy and callow to carry the film on her shoulders, and Lawrence Dane shows why he stuck to acting after this. At least the sexual innuendo in the first half can be kind of cute.

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