DENNIS SCHWARTZ Movie Reviews

HEAVENLY BODIES (director/writer: Lawrence Dane; screenwriter: Ron Base; cinematographer: Thomas Burstyn; editor:  Robert K Lambert; cast: Cynthia Dale (Samantha Blair), Richard Rebiere (Steve), Walter George Alton (Jack Pearson), Laura Henry (Debbie Martin), Stuart Stone (Joel Blair), Patricia Idlette (KC), Pam Henry (Patty), Linda Sorenson (T.V. Producer), Reiner Schwartz (T.V. Director), Cec Linder (Walter Matheson).; Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Robert Lantos/Stephen J. Roth; MGM/UA; 1984-Canada/USA)

"A trite and plotless cult musical about aerobics mixed with a tepid romance story that's directed by Canadian character actor Lawrence Dane."

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A trite and plotless cult musical about aerobics mixed with a tepid comical romance story that's directed by Canadian character actor Lawrence Dane, as if a TV sitcom. It's Dane's only film helmed, which is not hard for me to understand why. It's absurdly written by Ron Base and Lawrence Dane. It should appeal to the airhead crowd and those who couldn't get enough of Flashdance (1983).

Samantha Blair (Cynthia Dale), KC (Patricia Idlette) and Patty (Pam Henry) quit their dead-end office jobs and rent a rundown industrial warehouse on the unfashionable side of town and convert it into an aerobics dance studio and name it Heavenly Bodies, with single-mom Samantha the featured instructor. As a result, Samantha lands a gig as an aerobics instructor on the local morning TV show. The scheming Debbie (Laura Henry) is an aerobic instructor at Samantha's competitor health club, the Sporting Life, and is so jealous that she lost the TV gig to her rival that she plans to put Samantha's club out of business by buying it out from under her. To get enough money to keep the club, Samantha comes up with an Eighties version of a Depression-era dance marathon. Thereby Samantha's team engages in a televised exercise "dance-off" with the Sporting Life crew, and the winner gets the Heavenly Bodies.

If this wasn't enough of a superficial story, there's an annoying romance introduced for Samantha with football star Steve (Richard Rebiere)--whose wisecracking buddies have been ordered by their football owner to take exercise classes at Heavenly Bodies. Problems in the romance arise when Steve expects Samantha to follow him to Chicago where he wants to open up a restaurant, but she balks at just picking up and going.

It was co-produced by Playboy. The film was shot in Toronto, but no city was named for its location. The choreography was by Brian Foley.

REVIEWED ON 4/17/2014       GRADE: C

Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"

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