Christopher Bell's documentary carries the provocative subtitle The Side Effects of Being American. It recounts the Poughkeepsie, N.Y.–born Bell's childhood infatuation with the holy trinity of 1980s steroidal musculature: Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Hulk Hogan. Of course, the impressionable Bell and his two pro-wrestling-aspirant brothers didn't know at the time that their larger-than-life heroes were jacked on performance-enhancing drugs—and once they found out, it did little to deter them from experimenting with steroids themselves. "I'd rather be dead than average," says one of Bell's brothers, affectionately known as Mad Dog, and from that rich starting point, Bell—who's like Michael Moore with an inverse ratio of muscle to body fat—embarks on a wide-ranging survey of our national obsession with domination. It's a hugely entertaining, surprisingly shrewd ride, complete with guest appearances by the likes of Ben Affleck (seen in clips from an after-school special about the dangers of "'roid rage"), comic-book maestro Stan Lee, disgraced athletes Ben Johnson and Floyd Landis, and hilariously clueless California Rep. Henry Waxman.
Opens at Varsity, Fri., June 20. Rated PG-13. 106 minutes.