In The Lifeguard, Kristen Bell plays Leigh, a successful reporter living in NYC who, on the cusp of turning thirty, suffers a breakdown of sorts, as she discovers she is unhappy with the life she’s worked for. She returns home to Connecticut only to begin a rapid regression – reclaiming her old room in her parents’ house, as well as her old high school friends, and even her old job as a lifeguard at the local pool. However, this arrested development takes a turn for the scandalous when Leigh decides she also wants to rekindle young love… with a local teenage boy.
The movie marks the feature-film debut of writer/director Liz W. Garcia, who has previously written for TV series like Memphis Beat and Cold Case. She also happens to be the wife of actor (and one of the stars of The Lifeguard) Joshua Harto – who is probably best remembered for his failed attempt to blackmail Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight. Rounding out the cast are other “seen them somewhere” actors, like Mamie Gummer (The Good Wife), Martin Starr (NTSF:SD:SUV), John Finn (Cold Case), Amy Madigan (Fringe), Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes) and David Lambert (Aaron Stone).
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There’s not enough in that initial trailer to judge The Lifeguard too harshly; but at the same time, the story of my generation’s well-documented problem with growing into adulthood has been done (nearly) to death in just about every creative medium there is. In film alone, The Lifeguard is not all that distinguishable from similar works like Garden State, Notes on a Scandal, The Good Girl - or the more recent example of Young Adult.
But hey, perhaps that’s just where we’re at in our culture: a state of general unrest and confusion about life and the future. Or maybe Hollywood indie filmmakers with middle-class-to-privileged upbringings and educations are just very neurotic about aging and maturity . You can discuss in the comments.
The Lifeguard will be in theaters on August 30, 2013