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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Anna Kournikova: Basic Elements
Anna Kournikova: Basic Elements
Trimark // Unrated // September 25, 2001
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by G. Noel Gross | posted October 11, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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CineSchlock-O-Rama

Sure a lot of hefty gals who drank Tab with their bacon double-cheeseburgers helped push Jane Fonda's Complete Workout to the top of the charts in the late '80s, but they weren't solely responsible. Never underestimate the market influence of horndog CineSchlockers, as it's their "alternative viewing habits" that continues to propel fitness sleaze such as tennis siren Anna Kournikova's Basic Elements: My Complete Fitness Guide (2001, 52 minutes). The 20-year-old Russky blonde joins the now cliche, but never boring menagerie of gorgeous babes who contort themselves around in skimpy outfits under the guise of promoting physical fitness. Swimsuit-clad supermodels Cindy Crawford, Kathy Ireland, Elle MacPherson and Claudia Schiffer have all led video expeditions in search of buns of steel. Pop singer Paula Abdul tried to boogie the pounds away, but found it difficult while gnawing on a turkey leg. And, for the ladies, Hollywood bad boy Lorenzo Lamas sweat to the oldies during his own money-grubbing stab at the genre. Are any of these folks fitness gurus? Nope. Are they objects of lust and desire? Well, duh! Case closed.

The movie: Before the eye candy ensues, viewers are urged against mixing alcohol and exercise. CineSchlockers should disregard this warning. Rest assured that a few fine beverages are only going to IMPROVE your overall experience. First we're treated to a montage showcasing Anna's alleged tennis talent and mouthwatering gams. The camera angles employed are almost always from behind or at a hind, er, three quarters view. This ogling continues on the bordello-ish set consisting of hardwood floors, exposed brick and prop doorways haphazardly positioned in the background. Ms. Kournikova admirably chews through the script even if her accent clobbers elementary words like "muscle" (mus-kel), "other" (udder) and "baseball" (baz-bull). But it's REAL easy to get distracted from such minutia with the testosterone-heavy camera crew lingering over Anna's baby-oil slathered bod as she wallers atop some kid's Hoppity Hop ball. Despite these showgirl antics, the tennis starlet still attempts to school viewers on building strength and quickness via the use of weights, footwork and lower body, ahem, exercises. In her off hours, she's also an expert dietician with unique enthusiasm for fiber. Ambient noises like Anna's squeaking sneakers or heavy breathing are tragically ditched in favor of incessant narration and a Casio synthesizer switched to techno-funk explosion. Finally, CineSchlockers should note that the "cool down" portion of the workout is deceptively titled.

Notables: No breasts. Gratuitous slow mo. Chest pressing. Straddle jumping. Sports bra jiggling. Grunt serves. Four-pound balls.

Quotables: Narrator with English accent breathlessly assures viewers that, "[Anna] will take us step by step through the pain barrier into the power zone." Promises, promises. Ms. Kournikova is ever the tease, "Now we should be all loose and ready to go ... Another neglected part of the body is the rear delt ... Lay your body over the ball in a comfortable position ... This toss will strengthen your back muscles, which will help you handle all those awkward positions athletes find themselves in ... Just reach for the stars and take some deep breaths." And she just plain bewilders, "Remember, whatever you're going to do, it will help to have a better body to do it in."

Time codes: Anna assumes the position (12:54). She plays catch with her overly enthusiastic "physical trainer" (27:15). Look! Down on the floor! It's Super Anna! (33:42). The tennis tart experiments with lite bondage (42:05).

Audio/Video: The fullframe image often looks overly sharp and edgy, while the audio track is loud, but purely utilitarian.

Extras: Animated main menu with jock jams. No printed insert or liner notes.

Final thought: Expertly engineered to thoroughly exhaust gutter-minded couch potatoes in mere moments. Recommended.

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G. Noel Gross is a Dallas graphic designer and avowed Drive-In Mutant who specializes in scribbling B-movie reviews. Noel is inspired by Joe Bob Briggs and his gospel of blood, breasts and beasts.
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