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Swingers (1996)

  Directed by: Doug Liman
Written by: Jon Favreau
Starring: Jon Favreau, Heather Graham, Ron Livingston, Vince Vaughn
Links: Swingers on the IMDb, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy on DVD
Genre: Comedy

This movie gets: 6.00 (1 rating) Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Swingers (1996) is also mentioned in oblie's review of The Bourne Identity (2002).

"Romantic comedy for guys" - a review by andy-j

Poor Vince Vaughn has not aged well at all. Watching him in this 1996 effort is like watching anyone else in a 1986 effort. In Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story (2004) he looks late thirties. In Swingers, he looks early twenties. Granted, this is only the second film of his that I've actually seen (well.. that I've paid any attention to), but it's really what stuck out. Anyway, Vaughn is by far the best thing about this film. Allow me to elaborate more fully in the coming paragraphs.

Poor Heartbroken Mike Peters (played by Jon Favreau, also the writer of Swingers) is pretty majorly down in the dumps. He left his girlfriend to move to Hollywood and pursue an acting career, but is having a real problem getting over her. My big problem with this: he's left her, his life is going nowhere, so if he's as unhappy as he is, why doesn't he just move back to be with her? Anyway, he has a great bunch of friends who are constantly trying to get him out and about and maybe meet a nice young lady. "You're money!" they keep telling him. "You're so money and you don't even know you're money!" These kind of quips really help this movie work, as you are drawn into this closeknit group and gain an appreciation of the friendships at work. It also helps define some of the characters. However, I couldn't help but cringe at the fiftieth "you're money" joke.. not because the same line was repeated (the film manages to keep it reasonably fresh) - moreso that the whole approach started to feel like it was borrowing from the distinctive style of Quentin Tarantino. A little 'try-hard' at times, if you will. Thankfully, it doesn't rely on this too much, and so it's not a disaster by any means. There are still plenty of laughs elsewhere, and Swingers has enough comedy in it to stand on its own two feet. So, forgiven.

Yes indeed, there are some very funny scenes, particularly at the beginning when Mike reluctantly accompanies Trent (Vince Vaughn) to Vegas, and they manage to make idiots of themselves whilst trying to look professional. I was laughing out loud at the little old lady who managed a 21 on blackjack on the $5 table and got treated like royalty. I wish the movie had continued along those lines, but the plot started to kick in, and soon everything started focusing on Poor Heartbroken Mike Peters. I got tired of Mike 'my life sucks' Peters and him constantly going in circles. That's not what I wanted to see. There is more fun to be had with his friends sitting at a bar and commentating on what is going on around them. Vince Vaughn is absolutely fantastic as the handsome, confident and outrageous Trent. He definitely lifts the film right up to a new level, and without him, this movie would be dull and very by-the-numbers. It was an extremely good move to cast him, as he is lively, very entertaining, and dominates all the scenes he appears in.

All in all, Swingers has its moments. There are some great comedy bits in it, some fantastic characters, and then there's this been-done-a-thousand-times-before plot. A bit of a mixed bag. I get the feeling the comedy isn't quite enough, and I'm torn between a 6 and a 7. In essence, Swingers is a romantic comedy for guys, but as far as romantic comedies go, it's quite decent.

P.S. Trent needs his own movie.

andy-j gives this movie 6 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 22 Dec 2005

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