by R.C. Samo
Worth the Weight, is an indie romantic comedy following the traditional plot of Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” in that the main character falls in love with a girl who initially has zero romantic interest until having an epiphany that she should have given our hero a chance.
If you think you’ve seen this movie before, you have…sort of. Although, the plot line has been used a million times over, the film will resonate with audiences, especially former athletes who were injured in their prime.
“Sam,” portrayed by Robbie Kaller (White T, Ninja Cheerleaders, Domino), is a former college football player who tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) with dreams of making it to the NFL in order to financially support his widowed mother who sacrificed her life for Sam to have a decent up bringing. Unfortunately, Sam’s mother passes away shortly after he is injured and without that driving force, he never returned to the field, ballooning up to 415 lbs.
Kaller, a former UNLV Offensive Linemen, just like his character, suffered a debilitating knee injury, which added to his own weight gain, reflects, “There was a point while filming I looked at myself at 350 lbs and wonder what I would look like at 200 lbs, but would it really change my place in the world?”
“Cassie,” his chain smoking, bookworm, brooding, trainer and soon to be love interested, played by Jillian Leigh (Ties, City Baby, Defenseless), is a woman who thinks with her head more than her heart, tolerating the psuedo-intellectual snobbery, of Stephan played by theatre actor, Bryan Bellomo, who joked during the Q&A, “I’m probably just as big a douche as Stephan.”
“Cassie is flawed when we meet her, I wouldn’t have blamed her if the audience wouldn’t have been disappointed if Sam blew her off in the end,” said Leigh following the screening at the Newport Beach Film Festival. Wait until the teddy bear scene to find out why.
The quintessential realist, self-centered, honest to a fault, best friend, “Miles,” portrayed by Tommy Snider (Dr. Doolittle 3, Veronica Mars, Grey’s Anatomy), who sometimes is the enabler. One scene in particular comes early in the film as Sam cannot quite get his seat belt on says, “Don’t worry about it, you know these cars are made for small Japanese people.”
Rounding off the cast are “LaShawna,” Miles’ girlfriend, brought to life by Constance Reese (Friday at DeWayne’s, Da’ Booty Shop, Blown Away), and currently Los Angeles Lakergirl, Jacquelyn Vieira who portrays Ginger, Sam’s close friend who signs him up at her gym where he meets Cassie.
Sam’s revelation of his weight gain and self-loathing comes when he questions, “How did I get fat Miles? I’m tired of being fat and I’m tired of being invisible.”
Self-funded by Executive Producers Ryan and Katherine-Marie Sage, the script was purchased from comedian Dale Zawada for $500 off Craig’s List. Producer Kristina Denton, who is also a personal trainer, was pleased with the final product as she rushed to Newport Beach after accepting the Audience Choice Award from the Beverly Hills Film Festival.
Shot in documentary form, and taking nine months to film, was also directed by Ryan Sage used the talents of cinematographer Stephen Sheridan, bringing realism to a a film that could have easily fallen to the waste side. The score, composed by Sage’s long time friend John DeBorde, adds just the right touch to the film that otherwise could have been missed if left in the hands of someone who didn’t understand Sage’s vision or the characters themselves.
This film was a heartwarming, realistic, self-reflection on how with positive thinking and a little will power, people making the smallest changes can truly improve their lives. Go out and see Worth the Weight, you’ll laugh, you’ll tear up, you’ll want to kill Stephan.