In the tradition of "Swingers" and "Good Will Hunting," "Dumbbells" originates from a pair of enterprising actors who have dabbled in screenwriting to generate parts for themselves.
Brian Drolet and Hoyt Richards drew on their former lives as an MTV personality (Drolet) and fashion model (Richards) to write the story of an ex-jock languishing as a North Hollywood gym attendant after his promising career and superficial girlfriend both slipped from his grip.
Drolet undertakes the role of the sweet-natured sad sack, while Richards plays an ex-model who assumes ownership of the gym and schemes to turn it into a set for a reality series.
The gym's ragtag crew is composed of offbeat yet familiar caricatures: We have Bobby (Nick Nicotera), the Danny McBride-like smug cheese ball; Dre (Jason Scott Jenkins), the Vin Diesel-ish dull meathead; Missy (Valery Ortiz), the Sofia Vergara-esque accented vixen; and Todd (Jon Huck), the Rhys Ifans-like shaggy dork. Even Drolet's hapless Chris Long recalls a young Jerry O'Connell. Though uniformly competent, most cast members suffer from these comparisons. Richards is the only standout, deprecating himself as an over-the-hill model.
With verbal jabs and sight gags in equal measure, the script proves serviceably funny. As the film progresses, though, the hilarity does not escalate along with the outrageousness. "Dumbbells" ultimately isn't polished enough to catapult its creators' careers as actors or screenwriters — especially without that Weinstein seal of approval that "Swingers" and "Good Will Hunting" had.
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 32 minutes.
Playing: At the Crest, Westwood.