Movie Review: Crazy Legs Conti: Zen And The Art Of Competitive Eating

Crazy Legs Conti: Zen and the Art of Competitive Eating is a doc about Jason "Crazy Legs" Conti, a weird character who gets into competitive eating while working odd jobs as a sperm donor, window washer, and nude model.  Throughout the course of the film, Crazy Legs becomes the world oyster eating champion, and then goes on to try to compete in Nathan's Coney Island Hot Dog Eating contest (a fun and crazy event that I myself attended last year while living near Coney Island).

Crazy Legs is a great documentary subject because he is such an interesting character.  He's unique and funny, and strangely relatable.  He's that friend that everyone talks about at parties.  Watching Crazy Legs eat is pretty gross, but it's easy to root for him the whole time anyways, even when Conti, who is always trying to push the limits tries to gulp down sticks of butter.  Later in the film, this grossness is redeemed when a group of teen beauty pageant queens go up against each other in their own hot dog eating contest.  The winner is a hot 17-year-old chick who gulps down more than 1 hot dog per minute.  I liked that scene because it showed a broader view of competitive eating, beyond Crazy Legs' journey.  The film would have been much better if they had included more about some of the other people in the competitions.

I love how the film showed Crazy Legs' dedication and perseverance against the odds, but I also feel as if competitive eating must be a controversial sport, and would have liked to have some of those issues touched upon in the story.  What about the problem of world hunger?  Are there people that get angry about the sheer gluttony of this sport?  I'm also sure that not everyone finds these competitions as fun and normal as the characters here do.  A good film should show different sides of a topic, but this film seems to fall flat in that aspect.  Although Crazy Legs is a great main character for this doc, the film itself was just a bit too light and narrowly-focused for my tastes. 

/Film Rating: 5 out of 10