Bodies, Rest & Motion (1993)

Genres - Comedy Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Ensemble Film, Romantic Comedy  |   Release Date - Apr 9, 1993 (USA - Limited)  |   Run Time - 94 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Josh Ralske

Bodies, Rest & Motion is a slow-moving, talky, and mostly unconvincing film about self-involved slackers. Directed by Michael Steinberg and written by Roger Hedden and based on his play of the same name, the film clearly shows its theatrical roots, despite efforts to "open up" the film with arty desert and shopping mall shots. These snippets, along with Michael Convertino's inappropriate, Native American-themed music, give the film an unfortunate air of pretentiousness which further lessens its likeability. The script has its amusing and truthful moments, but it's also vague, and too often the filmmakers seem to be struggling to create drama in an inherently uneventful scenario. The film's talented cast (Bridget Fonda, Eric Stoltz, Tim Roth, and Phoebe Cates) works hard, and they seem to genuinely believe in what they're doing. Stoltz, in fact, produced the film. His character, a sort of pie-eyed shut-in who instantly falls in love with Fonda, is the least authentic in the film, and has the most clich├ęd, groan-inducing courtship dialogue, but somehow the low-key actor almost makes it work. Fonda is very good, and her role gives her a bit more to work with. She's the center of the film, and the main reason why it holds the viewers interest despite its flaws. Roth, sporting an unfortunate haircut, is a bit less charming than he needs to be to make the romantic interest of the women in the film credible. Cates is engaging, as usual, but sadly, her character is the least developed of the four. Blink and you'll miss Peter Fonda's amusing cameo. The film has its merits, and it is undeniably of its time, but it's flat. Hedden would go on to write and direct Hi-Life, which also featured Stoltz, and was a much richer and funnier ensemble piece.