Sweatin' to the Oldies

Sweatin’ to the Oldies is a terrible title, but it’s a terrific idea for an aerobics tape. It’s particularly appealing to those who hold that it’s bad enough to have to exercise, but it’s torture to have to hop around and perspire while listening to the numbingly bad New Age melodies and ”work so hard/ton of lard” lyrics featured on most fitness tapes.

Disappointment No. 1: The oldies featured on Richard Simmons’ latest video aren’t exactly the oldies. They’re such classics as ”Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and ”Peggy Sue” performed by an anonymous studio band that’s — well, it’s not bad, exactly, but it’s not quite the Supremes or Buddy Holly, either.

The exercise routine is an easy, low-impact aerobic dance led by the preternaturally energetic Simmons. The taped class is appealing, an unusual mix of gym bunnies and regular people whose figures range from average to obese.

Unfortunately, there is a Disappointment No. 2: The detailed instructions that made Simmons’ earlier video workouts good are glaringly absent here. The producers say Sweatin’ was designed for those who ”prefer their workouts to be more fun, less instructional.” That’s just fine if you’re playing to a fit crowd with plenty of exercise experience. Simmons, though, has built a career catering to people who are generally ignored by the fitness industry — the obese, the elderly, the seriously out-of-shape. And those folks need a good deal more careful coaching than they get here. C

Sweatin' to the Oldies
  • Movie