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Movie review: 'No Impact Man'

A Manhattan family try to shrink their carbon footprint to zero in this entertaining documentary.

By Peter Rainer / September 11, 2009

Colin Beavan and his wife Michelle Conlin, the subjects of a documentary titled "No Impact Man," pose for a portrait in New York on August 28.

Lucas Jackson/ Reuters

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Ever wonder what size carbon footprint you could fit into? In "No Impact Man," an entertaining documentary directed by Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein, a Greenwich Village couple decides to find out. Colin Beavan, with his at first reluctant wife Michelle Conlin and daughter Isabella in tow, fastidiously, inexorably remove from their lives all traces of lattes and electricity. No taxis, only vegetables purchased in season and a compost heap of crawly worms in the apartment. It all seems like a stunt, especially since Beaven has also written a just-published book about his experiences, but he and Conlin are an engaging pair who don't let zealotry get in the way of humor. "Daddy does nature," Conlin instructs her daughter. "Mommy does retail." Grade: B+

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