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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

The Lifeguard review

The Lifeguard red light Kristen Bell David Lambert

Apparently it’s hard to be a grownup in today’s crazy world without committing consequence-free statutory rape. Ugh.
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Oh, no no no. I was fooled by the promise of a tale that starts out, refreshingly, all female third-life crisis, as Kristen Bell’s journalist is driven to escape her work and New York City and go home to suburban Connecticut. (She brings the cat with her — it’s that serious.) On the verge of 30, she “need[s] some time out of [her] life,” and finds it by taking up her high-school summer job as a lifeguard in an apartment complex pool and engaging in lots of nice refreshing distracting sexytime… with a 16-year-old boy. Not cool, movie — not cool. Especially when there’s nothing the movie wants to say — some unconvincing whining about how hard it is to grow up, apparently — that couldn’t have been achieved if the kid had been 18, and double-especially once it turns out that writer-director Liz W. Garcia has constructed her tale so that there will be no negative consequences whatsoever for Bell’s abominable behavior. So not cool.


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The Lifeguard (2013)
US/Can release: Aug 30 2013 (VOD Jul 30 2013)

MPAA: rated R for strong sexuality, brief graphic nudity, drug use, language and a disturbing image - some involving teens

viewed on my iPad

official site | IMDb
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

If you’re tempted to post a comment that resembles anything on the film review comment bingo card, you might want to reconsider.

  • RogerBW

    Age of consent in Connecticut is 16. (And in Canada, and in most of Europe where it’s not younger.)

  • PJK

    There seems to be a line on the wikipedia page you’ve linked that makes this case a bit more problematic:

    It’s in the exception part:

    The general age of consent in Connecticut is 16. This applies in most relationships. However, if any of the following apply, then the age of consent becomes 18:

    – Where one person’s professional, legal, occupational or volunteer status gives him/her a role of supervision, power, or authority, over the other’s participation in a program or activity, and the older person is at least 20-years-old. See C.G.S. § 53a-71(a)(4).

    Wouldn’t a lifeguard fall under this last exception?

  • RogerBW

    Insufficient data. Is a pool sufficiently directed to be a “program or activity”? I’d need to talk to a local lawyer, and I don’t have one on tap.

  • Well, it doesn’t matter, because with the exception of one character, nobody but nobody seems to think there’s any problem with their relationship. But only in a “let’s sweep this under the rug and not think about it” sort of way.

  • RogerBW

    Yeah, that’s rather more of a problem. Just because it’s legal, that doesn’t make it a good idea. Is this better than the usual Hollywood comedy figure of an older woman chasing a younger man? Probably not, really…

  • Trex

    Here’s a thought; maybe it doesn’t matter. Oh, the children! Good god, the moralizing of middle aged adults over the sexual activities of teens, no different from any other generation, is just so simpering and pathetic. Maybe there is no problem with this relationship as depicted in the movie. Maybe folks like you are the problem. Go and have sex. Please. Just stop wringing your hands as you tell the “children” how to behave :(

  • LaSargenta

    That’s right…always consult a lawyer before sex.

    How about if you need to check the law maybe it would be better to keep one’s pants on?

  • RogerBW

    Even if (as I originally supposed) it’s entirely legal, the failure of anyone to consider the potential problem is still a failure of the film.

  • LaSargenta

    Yup.

  • anonymous

    Did anyone else notice the fact that the kid committed suicide because jason wanted to stay another week so he could fuck her? Had she never arrived jason and the other kid would be perfectly well in vermont

  • LaSargenta

    That is not how suicide works.

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