Christopher Bell uses his family as a microcosm for America’s relationship with steroids in Bigger, Stronger, Faster*, an engaging pop-documentary about the myriad implications of our national love-hate affair with performance-enhancing drugs. Bell’s younger brother “Smelly” juices for powerlifting meets and his older bro “Mad Dog” does it to land a professional wrestling contract with the WWE. As the film makes clear, their habitual, largely guilt-free ‘roid use really stems from childhood body-image hang-ups and a cultural infusion of Hulk Hogan, Sylvester Stallone, and Arnold Schwarzenegger, hypocritical icons who preached clean living yet whose superhuman physiques taught kids that being bigger was not only better, but distinctly “American.” Rather than exclusively focusing on his compelling siblings, Bell – spurred by his own uncertain feelings about steroids, which he briefly tried – expands his investigation into the wider arena of athletics and health care, examining the ethicality of its usage in professional sports, the sensibleness of vilifying steroids and not alcohol or tobacco (when there’s little scientific proof that its negative effects are permanent or lethal), and what our fascination with bulging muscles and desire for competitive advantage at any cost reflects about societal priorities. Mirroring its director’s ambivalence about the subject, Bigger, Stronger, Faster* doesn’t preach, and aside from a cutesy diagrammatic “Steroids 101” sequence, addresses its complex topic with both humor and intelligence, deftly addressing various aspects via pertinent cultural examples (Rocky IV’s training montage, WWE storylines, Barry Bonds and the congressional hearings on MLB substance abuse, ‘roid-using Schwarzenegger’s position as chairman of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness). While the health risks of steroids remain somewhat open to debate (given the medical benefits they afford, such as for AIDS patients), Bell’s film astutely and convincingly pinpoints the means by which issues of beauty, power, potential, ego and success all fuel our supplement-and-steroid-ingesting obsession.