Daryn introduces his gym with a bright smile and positive spin on everything and everyone. He is proud of the fitness centre he inherited from his grandfather and bodybuilding father. Yes, his gym staff might be out of control, but that’s what makes them great! Yes, it is uncommon to have cats, dogs, and some fluffy friendly rats in their own workout room. But that smile starts cracking as Daryn’s harebrained schemes and lack of business acumen come face to face with the multinational franchise gym opening across the street – and the ruthless, body-and-soul destroying woman who runs it. 

Much of the humour of Daryn’s Gym will be familiar to the generation raised on The Office – the characters each fit a workplace and personality mould, albeit one based around the wellness industries, and the mockumentary zooms and talking heads mundanely undercut the unhinged. This comic dissonance opens the door to some casual psychopathy and incongruous subversions; to the film’s credit these remain surprising and laugh-out-loud funny throughout the entire 90 minute runtime. 

Writer and director Brett Michael Innes confidently frames each bizarre revelation and ridiculous twist, working camera and script seamlessly to shock only when earned. His talented cast deliver even the silliest lines and actions without overemphasis. While all are stellar, Clifford Joshua Young balances Daryn’s sincere optimism and affability with just enough worldliness that he is never played for the fool. The joke, ultimately, is not on Daryn, nor his conglomerate competition, nor his endearing yet worrying staff. What exists is a loving lampoon of the fitness industry’s road to hell and all its best intentions. 

Daryn’s Gym is tremendous fun, transposing the tried-and-true workplace comedy to an industry of healthy habits and deranged behaviours. Any dismissal for unoriginality is uncharitable: Innes delivers enjoyment and heart in spades.  



CAST: Clifford Joshua Young, Hlubi Mboya, Ayanda Seoka, Siv Ngesi, Natasha Sutherland, Deon Coetzee, Carla Classen

DIRECTOR: Brett Michael Innes

WRITER: Brett Michael Innes

SYNOPSIS: A third-generation gym owner struggles to live up to family expectations as a rival gym opens across the road.