No Impact Man

Film
2 out of 5 stars
No Impact Man

Time Out says

2 out of 5 stars

Call it benign ecological paranoia: a hyperawareness of all the garbage and other waste that the average consumer produces. For one year, New Yorker Colin Beavan and his family put this hard-core environmental consciousness into daily practice—from composting and avoiding excess packaging to eating local and swearing off electricity. As chronicled by Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein, the incremental experiment becomes a good-hearted dip into a total lifestyle choice, with comic relief from spousal friction.

This is Super Size Me inverted. Here’s a self-inflicted crusade with good side effects, along with relatable reactions from Beavan’s caffeine-addicted wife, Michelle. He may be our semi-informed guide, but she’s far more engaging as a funny journalist who gamely scooters to work but sneaks the odd disposable cup of coffee. His spouse also says more about how such drastic transformations make a person feel—a facet that, considering the health benefits of their fresh diet and new exercise habits, is perhaps underplayed.

No Impact Man eventually runs out of gas—or rather, pedal-power—as the filmmakers grope for how to cap the Beavans’ story. If you caught Colin on his extensive media rounds at the time, you might already know the climax. At least the doc avoids harangues, even if it could use a bit more scientific background.—Nicolas Rapold

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