[ONE WEEK ONLY] The Lifeguard
is about as exciting as listening to someone talk about their quarter-life crisis. Writer-director Liz W. Garcia’s debut film follows a young New York reporter named Leigh (Kristen Bell) who, due to a secret affair gone awry, crawls back to the Connecticut suburban wasteland of her youth. Reliving her high-school years, she smokes pot with her hometown friends, hangs out with skateboarders at the gas station and picks up work as a lifeguard at a local apartment building. She insists it’s acceptable because, technically, she’s only 29 and 10 months. Viewers, though, have no other reason to sympathize with her. The plot is unoriginal and slow-moving, and the bubblegum-pop soundtrack does it no favors. Besides her moving home to escape the big city and an ill-fated romance, it’s unclear whether Leigh has a goal for this whole “transition period.” Instead, we watch as she wallows in self-pity about her affair and her failed stab at being a successful city woman. Performances are decent, but the script is so cheesy the effort feels wasted. In one cringe-inducing scene, Leigh dramatically recounts the story of a tiger that's locked in a city apartment and dies—and then describes how she sees herself as the trapped animal. If it wants any shot at success, The Lifeguard
will need a life preserver to keep it afloat.
Clinton Street Theater