If it was still the 1980s, then Dumbbells might actually be a hit.
Alas, it’s no longer the high-flying era of such low-budget comic raunch-fests as Porky’s and Revenge of the Nerds, so this effort starring Brian Drolet and Hoyt Richards (who co-wrote as well) will have to settle for a minimal theatrical release and greater exposure on VOD and home video. Set at a gym whose motto is “Open 25/8 Because 24/7 Is for Pussies,” it doesn’t exactly win points for sparkling wit. But it’s hard to entirely dislike a film that pretends that Fabio is still a sex symbol.
This buddy comedy centers on the relationship between Chris (Drolet), a former NCAA basketball star whose career got derailed on his way to the pros, and Jack (Richards), the new owner of the rundown gym in which he’s now working as a lowly trainer. Jack, a former male supermodel (as was Richards), intends to use the gym as a setting for a reality show starring his buddy Fabio, renaming it “Dumbbells” and outfitting the staff with skimpy outfits. But his plans go awry when his finances suddenly go bust. So he and Chris form an alliance to get things back in motion, with the latter motivated in no small part by his romantic feelings for Jack’s comely niece (Taylor Cole).
Featuring inconsequential, unfunny cameo appearances by the likes of Tom Arnold, Carl Reiner, Jay Mohr, Jaleel White and, of all people, Nancy Olson (Oscar-nominated for Sunset Boulevard), the film features an endless procession of vulgar sight gags and one-liners, with most of them failing to score. But their sheer volume inevitably produces some amusing moments, and the two leads display a winning comic chemistry. Dumbbells may indeed be dumb, but at least it’s not heavy-lifting.
Opens Jan. 10 (GoDigital)
Production: Full Blitz Entertainment, Check Your Head Films, Tortoise Entertainment
Cast: Brian Drolet, Hoyt Richards, Taylor Cole, Mircea Monroe, Fabio, Nick Nicotera, Jason Scott Jenkins
Director: Christopher Livingston
Screenwriters: Brian Drolet, Hoyt Richards
Producers: Travus Pope, Josh Goldstein, Barry Katz
Executive producers: Travus Pope, Jason Scott Jenkins
Director of photography: Jessica Young
Editors: Sandy Solowitz, Sean Galera
Production designer: Chloe Arbiture
Composers: Mick Muhlfriedel, Frank Piazza
Not rated, 100 min.