April 26, 1993 12:00 PM

Bridget Fonda, Eric Stoltz, Tim Roth, Phoebe Cates

Roth, a TV salesman with terminal wanderlust, abruptly decides he wants to escape undistinguished Enfield, Ariz., a fictional desert town, for the supposedly greener pastures of Butte, Mont. He’s read somewhere that Butte is the city of the future. His girlfriend (Fonda), though unsure she sees a future in the relationship, let alone in Butte, obediently starts packing her belongings. After all, what, really, is she leaving behind besides her best friend (Cates)—who is, as a matter of fact, Roth’s former lover?

Into the trio’s discontented midst comes the anything-but-unhappy Stoltz, a local housepainter charged with readying Roth and Fonda’s bungalow for the next tenant. Stoltz is markedly different from all the other characters we’ve met so far. He enjoys his work and he enjoys Enfield, where he was born, bred and cheer-fully expects to be buried. “My father says if you stay in one place long enough, your luck will know where to find you,” he explains. And in less time than it takes to apply a coat of primer, he falls for Fonda, who suddenly finds herself at loose ends, with Roth having elected to hie out for Butte solo. “Come hold me and you’ll be happy,” Stoltz tells her by way of courtship ritual.

Bodies, Rest & Motion, which frankly has very little motion, wants desperately to say something profound about the condition of twentysomethings. But it succeeds only in sounding like outtakes from an undergrad bull session. While Fonda and Cates manage to keep their footing, Roth elicits no emotion beyond irritation, and Stoltz acts as if he’s had his nose in the latex too long. (R)

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