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If ever there were a movie that was accurately described by its meager one-word title ... it's Lifeguard. One of the cheesier movies in director Daniel Petrie's extensive filmography and debut screenplay from Ron Koslow (Firstborn, Last Dance), Lifeguard is a silly and somewhat innocuous character study of a guy who, frankly, doesn't really have all that much character to speak of.
A young and bronze Sam Elliott stars as longtime beach lifeguard Rick Carlson. Rick's been a chick-magnetizin' professional beach bum for several sunny summers now, and he begins to feel those familiar pangs of loserdom. As in, "Hey, Rick, you're almost thirty and what have you done with your life thus far?" The lifeguard finds his life at a crossroads when an old friend offers him a position selling Porsches, and then there's that tacky old high school reunion to attend (which comes complete with a single & horny Anne Archer) -- plus there's a 17-year-old beach bunny who just wants a ride on the old Rick Machine.
Oh, what's a guy to do?
Basically a sand-covered rehash of the old Saturday Night Fever theme, Lifeguard has a lot of awful music and laughable dialogue to cover up the spots where the "plot" should be ... and it has a lot more nudity than you'd ever see in a modern-day PG-rated movie, so that's something, I suppose. You'll also earn a horrified chuckle from the casual way in which our heroic lifeguard deals with the local sex perverts, but that's just comedy material from a much goofier era.
But Lifeguard is not a comedy -- or maybe it is, if only by accident. No, Lifeguard is about "growing up, accepting responsibility, and pulling fat people out of the ocean." So lightweight that it almost evaporates, Lifeguard is worthy of note only to A) Sam Elliott groupies, B) historians of the tacky 1970's mindset, and C) those who wouldn't mind seeing a 17-year-old Kathleen Quinlan jiggle around in a bikini while basically begging our titular adonis to "make love with me!"
Video: The widescreen anamorphic transfer delivers Lifeguard in as clean a presentation as one could hope for. That's assuming one is a huge fan of this forgotten old chestnut.
Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono, with optional English subtitles. The dialogue is clear, as is the resoundingly goofy music heard throughout the film.
Extras: Not a one.
Silly stuff, to be sure, but not aggressively awful or unwatchable. Lifeguard is worthy of a weekend rental -- but only if you're actually old enough to look back on 1976 and chuckle knowingly.