JOHN TRAVOLTA is a star reporter and Jamie Lee Curtis is the aerobics instructor who gives him a physical education in their far from "Perfect" picture -- an exercise in futility direct from the covers of Rolling Stone magazine.
Travolta, spouting Emersonian democracy and grinding his pelvis, is doing a story on singles at a snazzy California sweat pit called the Sports Connection. He wants to interview Curtis as the Connection's most popular instructor, but she refuses, relenting only after he charges her batteries (honest). In unrelated developments, Travolta pursues an interview with a businessman accused of dealing cocaine.
Meanwhile back at the spa, there is much leering, sweating, bumping and pumping. Workouts, however, are coy and mostly eurythmic. The choreographer favors hip thrusts. The obliging Travolta bucks like burlesque can-opener till we fear his back will give out.
Curtis and her class of flab fighters respond enthusiastically with buttocks in doubletime. "Four more. Now three more. Now two more," she gasps feverishly. The music thrums. Thighs quiver. But despite the throbs, the swells, the flesh and the glitz, this is about as sensual as jogging with shin splints.
Costars include Marilu Henner as a plump and giggly club member who works on increasing her bust size with the assistance of a male exotic dancer. Laraine Newman distinquishes herself from the pack with a nice portrayal of pathetic health club floozy, the "most used piece of equipment in the gym." Anne De Salvo is also quite good as a brash photographer modeled on Rolling Stone's Annie Leibowitz. And real-life editor Jann Wenner is camp as the fictional editor of the magazine.
Director James Bridges and journalist Aaron Latham wrote the shoddy screenplay from Latham's cover story "Looking for Mr. Goodbody" and two other articles, none of which come together sufficiently to comprise a plot. You've got to wonder what they really had in mind with this marriage of ink and sweat. What next -- the "The 60-Minute Workout" with Morley Safer, or Arnold Schwarzenegger and "Meet the Bench Press"?
PERFECT (R) -- At area theaters, with English subtitles for the hearing-impaired at certain showings at the Tenley Circle.