Leigh (Kristen Bell) quits her job as a reporter in New York and returns to the place she last felt happy: her childhood home in Connecticut. She gets work as a lifeguard and starts a dangerous relationship with a troubled teenager.
The Lifeguard is a watchable, emotionally redolent trip down one woman’s memory lane.
The Lifeguard is one of those deceptive movies that, to its credit, winds up being about more than just an easy-to-describe tagline. In this case, that line would be: “Woman goes back to hometown, sleeps with high school boy.”
It’s not the most original of concepts, and writer-director Liz W. Garcia struggles with the tone throughout, but The Lifeguard is often saved by Kristen Bell’s sensitive and complex performance.
Lambert brings a forlorn dimension to his seductive young role, but Bell never really convinces as the older woman. Despite flirting with controversy, the actress seems reluctant to plunge fully into potential unlikability, nor does the film quite give he
Surprisingly for a writer turned director, the most evident shortcomings with Garcia’s feature originate with the script. With barely any backstory to support them, the characters consistently appear to lack the motivations necessary for their actions.
The Lifeguard is a painfully dull (alleged) drama utterly lacking in originality or self-awareness.
This drama is as listless and self-regarding as its protagonist, flitting among underdeveloped characters and subplots and indulging in rote emo shots by the pool, yet never figuring out how to dive into the deep end.