If you were to write an utterly predictable tale of a druggie and then replace “slice of pizza” for every instance of “cocaine” in the script you would get Lbs. This well-intentioned, uninspired appropriation of the junkie narrative follows Neil (Carmine Famiglietti), a food addict and self-described social novice, in his mostly failed attempts at choosing greens over bacon burgers, Twinkies, and meatballs—all in one sitting.
One would be hard-pressed to find anything here other than the tracing of a direct relationship of equivalence between illegal drugs and legal addictions such as food. Much of the film pits a facile back-and-forth between Neil’s defense mechanisms against life’s least palatable events (junk food) and his best friend Sacco’s (cocaine). The characters often say out loud what they should really suggest: “Everywhere I go—TV, radio—I’m constantly reminded of food,” Neil tells Sacco (Michael Aronov). “Drugs have to be seeked out, food is accessible.”
Predictable, repetitive, and counting on indie-movie music to move the story along, Lbs. only gets interesting when Neil meets an “almost divorced” woman at a yard sale, with whom he exchanges some deliciously awkward dialogue concerning the price of a bike and our antihero’s bird’s nest-like hair. Not nearly as fun as other “look at how disgustingly Americans eat” fare as Fat Actress, sympathetic like Super Size Me, or enlightening as Fast Food Nation, Lbs. never quite becomes a film about people. Instead of focusing on the ill, it directs its gaze at the illness and its object choice: food itself in all of its prepackaged lifelessness.