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January 11, 2017

How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps is the Fuel Your New Year’s Resolution Needs

Short of the Day

A comedy starring SNL’s Beck Bennett.

This time of year, everyone’s trying to better themselves. They’re eating better, drinking less, spending more time with friends and family, and attempting to finally get themselves in shape. “Lose weight” is far and away the number one New Year’s Resolution (for Americans at least), making the topic ripe for study and, even better, mockery.

Director Ben Berman (Comedy Bang Bang!) was one such American who resolved to add more exercise to his routine, so did what many folks do: he joined a gym. Shortly after a friend sent him an article called “How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps,” and comedic lightning struck. Berman was so touched by the balance of clickbait and sincerity in the article that he started brainstorming, and eventually got in touch with the author, Aaron Bleyaert, to figure out how to adapt it into a comedic short with dramatic undertones. Once that minor mountain was climbed, Berman had to cast his main character, a late-20s/early-30s mattress salesman nursing a broken heart who is resolved to improve at least one thing about his life, and for that he went to the halls of Saturday Night Live and found actor Beck Bennett. Obviously a very funny person, Bennett here gets to showcase his dramatic side as well, and I gotta say, as someone who considers himself a fan of Bennett’s comedic chops, I like him even better with a touch of drama. There is an aching humanity to Bennett and his character, who comes across like Willy Loman meets Lester Burnham, and the way his performance oscillates between comedic and dramatic belies a well of untapped talent that some feature director somewhere needs to take advantage of, stat. I think of films like Everything Must Go, or Cedar Rapids, and I can imagine Bennett knocking material like that out of the park.

Ultimately, How to Lose Weight in 4 Easy Steps isn’t really a film about weight loss as much as it is just about loss in general and how we rebound from it. The best revenge, they often say, is living well, and Berman’s delightful film proves it can make for the best comedy, too.

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