A couple of days into their cold-turkey detox in the woods of Upstate New York, childhood friends Neil (Carmine Famiglietti), a compulsive eater, and Sacco (Michael Aronov), a junkie, argue viciously about who's got the tougher road. "It's harder to be fat than it is to be a drug addict," Neil says. "No one's threatened by me." By that point in Lbs., Matthew Bonifacio's idiosyncratic portrait of one man's struggle to get control of his appetites, it's clear that it's definitely harder to make a film about being fat: The art of fixing a hit onscreen is practically a film-school staple; Twinkie binge montages lack romance. At a surly 300 pounds, 27-year-old Neil's enabling relationship with his Brooklyn Italian family plays, for the first half-hour or so, like an episode of The Sopranos brought to you by the Surgeon General. But when a heart attack causes Neil to isolate himself in the wild and get his eating under control, Lbs. acquires a more distinct, insightful texture, emerging—along with its star, who actually lost 170 pounds over the course of a two-year shoot—as a creature with sharper angles than it first appeared.
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