The Lifeguard Review
by Gabriel “Big Gabe” Alcantara of Stuffed Burrito Entertainment
The Lifeguard is an indie flick that premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival to some very unfavorable reviews. But… but… why? It has Kristen Bell in a swimsuit.
Bell stars as Leigh London, a disillusioned 29 year-old woman who decides to walk away from her life in New York City and move back to her hometown in Connecticut to live with her parents until she figures out what she wants out of life. She decides to get her old high school job back as a lifeguard for the local public pool. While waddling in self pity, she meets up and hangs out with some of her old high school friends, one of which is Mel (Mamie Gummer), a vice principal at a high school. Mel and her husband are trying to have a baby despite being unhappily married. But who cares about them? This is Leigh’s story. At least, it’s supposed to be. Anyway, Leigh starts hanging out and smoking weed with some troubled teens. She then jumps into a relationship with one of them, a 16 year-old boy named Little Jason (David Lambert).
I honestly don’t even know why I am writing about this film, it’s hardly worth talking about. Maybe I just need to get the frustrations of life out of me and I need to take it out on this little, lousy movie that no one is going to see. Not that anyone should see it. This movie is a total, fucking drag and is hardly worth anyone’s time. The talented Kristen Bell, who I simply adore, really tries her absolutely best to carry this film but watching her play a self-loathing, whinny woman with no ambition or direction in life is no fun at all. There isn’t even enough reason to care for her or to find her interesting. Her character is dull and obviously stupid since she pursues a series of booty calls with a 16 year-old boy. They try to make it seem like they truly care for each other at one point but I never bought it simply because Bell and her co-star Lambert had no chemistry. Hell, I didn’t want to buy it, the relationship was wrong to begin with. Okay, sure, the guy side of me wants to cheer on Little Jason for getting some with a hot 29 year-old but don’t give me this crap about them possibly being in love, it ain’t gonna work.
This is the directorial debut of Liz W. Garcia, who also wrote and produced the film. I can definitely see signs of a good film here. It has a nice indie soundtrack, the acting is, at times, decent and it is not too pretentious, thank fucking God! However, The Lifeguard is smothered with cliche’s, crying, whining, bitching, moaning and pathetic, unoriginal melodrama. The subplot about Mel and her husband going through their marital problems was goddamn annoying mostly because Mel cries throughout ever scene for no apparent reason. She’s just a depressed woman crying for attention, as far as I’m concerned. I simply did not care if their marriage ended or not.
The film moves at a snail’s pace with half of the cast just sulking and mumbling their lines as if they are just dying for the director to yell “cut”. Kristen Bell just stares off into space as if she’s waiting for the director’s instructions to come in. It’s just a joyless, depressing film that at times had me tuning out because I just didn’t give a shit about it. Look, I can somewhat relate to the character. I know what it’s like to not have a sense of direction, to not know what to do in life but I sure as hell wouldn’t want someone to make a movie about it. Why? Because it would turn out to be as boring as this fucking thing.
The Lifeguard uses a tired ass formula about forbidden “love”. I mean, Jesus, I just saw and reviewed a film at SXSW called A Teacher, about an older woman in a relationship with a teen. I didn’t like that film and I don’t like this one. Matter of fact, I like this film even less. I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt but it wasted my time and made me feel indifferent after wards. See it if you want and I hope you get more enjoyment out of it than I did.
My Rating: 1.5 outta 5