BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER* — *** — Documentary feature about anabolic steroids use; rated PG-13 (drugs, violence, profanity, vulgarity, slurs, nude art, brief gore)

In "Bigger, Stronger, Faster*" filmmaker Chris Bell employs the same highly personal, singular-point-of-view style that's favored by his fellow documentarians Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock.

But the resulting movie is more like Spurlock's 2004 breakthrough "Super Size Me" than Moore's increasingly tiresome brand of finger-pointing and finger-wagging diatribes.

That's not to say this documentary is as likable as the earlier Spurlock movie. But at least it doesn't come off as strident as a Moore film. And better still, it makes convincing case for at least a few of Bell's assertions — including some debate about whether the health risks of steroids use has been exaggerated.

In "Bigger, Stronger, Faster*" Bell tackles the subject of anabolic steroids, something with which he has some experience. Bell confesses to having tried them when he was younger.

He also notes that his siblings, older brother Mike and younger brother Matt, both continue to use them, despite urgent warnings from the medical community and their loved ones.

According to Bell, all three were motivated by family obesity and a love for weightlifting. That sport, as well as other pro sports and professional wrestling, also have histories of steroids use and abuse.

Bell's film doesn't really delve into the whole steroids-in-baseball debate as you might expect — or want it — to. And there are a couple of swipes at Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, as well as Utah's dietary-supplement manufacturing and distribution industry, which seem a little out of place.

But again, it's an interesting story and is well-told for the most part. In particular, the movie is at its best when dealing with his family's tale. (A scene in which he talks about his brothers' steroids use with his rather naive mother, Rosemary, is really riveting stuff.)

"Bigger, Stronger, Faster*" is rated PG-13 for strong drug content (frank steroid discussions, scenes of steroids use, and other drug references), some brief, strong movie violence (scenes from action movies), scattered strong profanity (including one usage of the so-called "R-rated" curse word), a few vulgar references, derogatory slurs, glimpses of nude illustrations, and brief gore. Running time: 106 minutes.


E-mail: jeff@desnews.com