At once noble and naive, earnest and a tad obnoxious, Colin Beavan's mission in the documentary No Impact Man is simple enough: to live for a year with his wife and toddler in their Manhattan apartment without making even the smallest dent in the environment. Buy food from farmers markets, ride a bike, use the stairs (nine flights) rather than the elevator. No TV, no toilet paper.
For a year.
Beavan and his refreshingly cranky wife, Michelle Conlin, shift into their über-green mode, of course, with filmmakers in tow. (Was the power usage for the documentary crew factored into the equation?) Like reality TV, there are moments of drama that have an aura of awkward self-consciousness about them and incidents that feel, if not staged, at the very least orchestrated, amped up.