I admittedly had very shallow reasons for wanting to see Bigger, which came out today in limited release. If not for those shallow reasons, I would not have made a point to see this movie in theaters, and I honestly wouldn’t have missed much.
It’s not that Bigger is a bad movie. It’s not bad, per se, but it’s not particularly good, either. Bigger is the story of Joe Weider (Tyler Hoechlin), who started from extremely humble beginnings as a young Jewish man in Canada and founded a fitness empire that’s still going strong even though he died five years ago. The movie goes from moment to moment, hitting all the milestones of Weider’s life – from his first bodybuilding trophy to his two marriages to “discovering” Arnold Schwarzenegger (Calum von Moger) – in a very matter-of-fact manner.
Considering that Weider was ahead of his time, focusing on health and fitness and trying to get bodybuilding official recognized as a sport (not to mention being the first magazine to feature a black bodybuilder on the cover), and all of the anti-Semitism he and his brother had to deal with, Bigger should be way more interesting than it is. As it is, it’s kind of boring. The script is dull, the characters are flat, and the whole thing is just kind of lifeless. Also, considering that the story is framed as Joe telling a reporter his life story at his brother’s funeral, there isn’t much of the brothers’ relationship in the film at all. I feel like if this biopic had been more focused on a particular point in Weider’s life and not a checklist of his accomplishments, everything could have been more developed and fleshed out.
But, as I previously mentioned, I saw this movie for shallow reasons – namely, Tyler Hoechlin. The accent is a little hard to take, and Aneurin Barnard, who plays his brother Ben, doesn’t have the same accent at all, which is a little weird. Still, I thought this role really got to show off Hoechlin’s range in a way that he hasn’t really been able to in his more recent roles (amazing as they were). von Moger also does a fantastic job at playing a young Schwarzenegger.
Also, if you’re a fan of oiled up muscles, this is a pretty good movie for you. There’s not a whole lot of story or, you know, good dialogue, but there are lots of built, shirtless guys. And if that’s not your thing, there are some ladies in bathing suits – not as many as the shirtless guys, but still.
Bigger is currently playing in select theaters across the US.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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