I remember the publicity for this film. You couldn’t flip through a newspaper or a magazine without seeing some sort of a poster ad (in Canada anyway) for the movie. I was around 20, living it up in the village, embracing my new-found freedom as a gay man. I was out every night all night and trying to go to school in between which turned out to be a pain. I ultimately ended up putting a temporary halt on my education (NOT very smart, I know) to spend the rest of my time, when I was not working, reading trash or going to the cinema. So when this FLASHDANCE rip-off came my way in February of 1985 I was more than ready for it.
Yes, HEAVENLY BODIES is as cheesy as it can get but is still enjoyable thanks mostly to the star’s physical appeal. Cynthia Dale embodies a popular aerobic dance instructor who challenges a competitor in a televised marathon of the fittest for a chance of owning the loft where stands her health club. What you get in between is a cliché-ridden subplot involving single-mom Dale and her perfect son, a blond football player as a love interest, and many, many jiggly moments of aerobic moves that are topped by an uninspiring ‘killer’ soundtrack. Unsurprisingly, the performances of its actors verge from OK (Dale) to so-bad (everyone else). Ms. Dale may work her hardest to bring any semblance of humanity to her paper thin character but it’s her well-choreographed exercising that is really the star of the film.
That said, if you have a keen eye for bad cinema I think you’ll enjoy this one. Underneath all the faux pas is a film that wants to be great. The problem is that despite its slick production values it’s all hardly well-handled. But that’s what makes HEAVENLY BODIES so lovable, the way it ends up being so good but for all the wrong reasons.
The film was apparently co-produced by Playboy. In spite of that it tanked at the box office. It probably aired endlessly on their Playboy channel and became some sort of a camp classic in the long run. It did in my eyes. Hope it does the same thing in yours. It sometimes runs on TCM. Catch it if you can and get back to me. We’ll compare notes.
Until next post—Martin