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Bodies, Rest & Motion

Directed by Michael Steinberg. Starring Eric Stoltz, Phoebe Cates, Bridget Fonda, Tim Roth.

REVIEWED By Marc Savlov, Fri., May 28, 1993

Fluff masquerading as angst. Based on Roger Hedden's play of the same name, Steinberg's film version aims to be a twentysomething slice of life, but instead comes across as an annoying -- albeit occasionally touching -- 90 minutes trapped inside the unfocused lives of four young friends. Roth and Fonda are Nick and Beth, a couple tied together more by a stubborn unwillingness to enact change than anything else. On the eve of their move from the Arizona desert community of Enfield to, of all places, Butte, Montana, Nick decides to hit the road alone, offering only the shopworn excuse of having to “find himself.” Beth is left alone in an empty house with only her best friend Carol (Cates), also Nick's ex, and the mysterious Sid (Stoltz), an outgoing, seemingly nice fellow who's turned up to paint the house before the new tenants arrive. Before long, the conversation turns to what they want out of life and how to go about getting it. Only Stoltz's character knows what he really wants: having lived in the same town all his life, he's perfectly content to go on with things just the way they are. “Stay in one place long enough,” he says, “and your luck will know where to find you.” In the wake of Nick's abrupt absence, Sid and Beth end up in bed together, and in the morning, he declares his undying love for her. This is, of course, a bit hard for her to swallow, having known him for all of 16 hours, and she is not easily worn down. You get the feeling she's been with a lot of guys who offered up instant love in exchange for a heady lay, and she's just not ready to take another chance. Despite all the Henry Jaglom-esque layers of deep, meaningful discourse and tortured soul-wrenching, Bodies, Rest & Motion has the feel of lowbrow Douglas Coupland: these late twentysomethings should just shut up and get on with it, instead of whining about the pitiful state of their lives. They may be archetypes of my peers, but it's really hard to even care.
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