A scene from 'Swingers'
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*** stars
96 minutes | Rated: R
Opened: Friday, October 25, 1996
Directed by Doug Liman

Starring Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Ron Livingston, Patrick Van Horn, Alex Desert, Heather Graham, Brooke Langton


A video classic. More fun with a group of friends, but a living room movie if there ever was one.
    Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn's commentary includes "graphics" -- illustrations on the screen a la John Madden sketching on replays during NFL games. It doesn't add much, the graphics don't work too well, and sometimes the guys just doodle on the screen for no reason. (In this mode there are some occasional flashes of white that freeze the screen for a second too.) Their insights are passably interesting, but a lot of the time they're just describing how you're supposed to feel during scenes when it's not necessary. Director Doug Liman & editor Stephen Mirrione's commentary is a little more substantial. But neither track seems to be in sync with the spirit of the film.
    The DVD's prime bonus is a low-budget, four-part, somewhat amateur documentary about the evolution of the film and how it became a cultural touchstone.
    Truth be told, unless you're a die-hard fan that needs every little detail, you'd be just as happy with the movie-only DVD already available.

Deleted scenes (smart choices were made), plus the very funny short film dual-spoof "Swingblade," which drops "Sling Blade" halfwit Karl into the "Swingers" scene.

1.85:1 ratio; Dolby Surround
DUBS: French
SUBS: English



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Sharp comedy 'Swingers' captures romantic bottom-scraping & swing sub-culture

By Rob Blackwelder

Almost every 20-something American male has had a pathetic streak. A period, usually following a breakup, in which he's so unsure of himself, so void of self-esteem, that he couldn't get laid to save his life.

"Swingers" is a comedy about such a streak. Written by and starring Jon Favreau ("Rudy"), the movie is not particularly insightful regarding male pattern loneliness or regarding it's setting among the struggling actor set in Los Angeles, but it is damn funny to a guy whose been there.

This is a movie about what goes through a lonely guy's head after the breakup of a long-term relationship. His buddies take him out and try to get him over his depression by saying "You're so money! Go get her!" until he musters the chutzpah to cross a crowded room and hit on a pretty girl.

"Swingers" is not about boy meets girl, but about the pathetic phone call or first date that follows when you're head's in the wrong place, and ultimately about the frustrated, hollow thump of forehead against door frame accompanied by the repitition of the pathetic streak mantra: "Idiot! Idiot! Idiot!"

It's a guy thing.

Although "Swingers" does capture that feminine ability to smell desperation, every girl I know who has seen this film had the same reaction to Favreau's character as the girls in the movie -- "this guy is a dweeb." Women seem turned off by "Swingers," and guys, we don't want them to know we have moments like this.

That having been said, this is a creative film. Even though it's jammed with sharp-tongued dialogue and coffee-shop and night-club culture, it is the epitome of an anti-formula film. You'll never see an anti-hero like this in a studio film.

"Swingers" was definitely made on the cheap, and at times it's too clever for it's own good (an argument about films stealing from each other is followed by a nod to "Reservoir Dogs"), but as an ironic diary of a lonely guy it's spot on.

Cast as the girl who in the end turns his slump around is the positively adorable Heather Graham ("License to Drive," "Drugstore Cowboy"), who could make a guy forget his mother's phone number, never mind his misery.


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