Friday, February 10, 2012

Day 296 - Swingers

Swingers (1996) directed by Doug Liman

Shockingly I've never seen Swingers before. Supposedly it's like the ultimate bro movie, but I was actually quite surprised at the amount of depth and truth in this film. It is indeed the ultimate bro movie because few movies have captured the male mindset as accurately as Swingers. It is mostly funny, yet insightful and at times even heartfelt, all disguised of course behind the veil of Vince Vaughn's catchphrase "That's money, baby."

The story follows Mike, a comedian who recently moved to Los Angeles from New York, leaving behind his longterm girlfriend in the process. Six months have passed and she's gotten a new boyfriend and Mike is devastated. We've all been there before. When people break up it's a race to see who gets over who first and the first step is when your ex starts dating again. It feels like she has moved on with her life while you are stuck where you are. You start reminiscing, throwing pity parties and wallowing in depression. Raise your hand if you know what I'm talking about. Losers.

At least that is how Trent views Mike's morose mood. He may seem like a douchebag but he is absolutely right in his assessment of Mike. He needs to get over her and get out there. Who is he being a martyr for? But as anyone who's gotten out of a long relationship can attest to, it is much easier said than done. Trent suggests a Vegas trip with Mike to have some fun and the chemistry between Jon Favreau (Mike) and Vince Vaughn (Trent) is great in these scenes and the Vegas scenes had me cracking up.

When it comes time to pick up girls, Trent is the ultimate pro who knows all the lines while Mike is still so attached to his ex he has lost all confidence with other women. Again, Trent, while being kind of a dick, is generally correct in his statements about what women really want. It is just much more difficult for some people than others. It's funny because I know guys like Trent and I can't believe how many girls they get, while guys like Mike (and myself unfortunately) get nothing. So when it gets down to business Trent is about to score while Mike has a nice conversation with his potential hook-up about well, his ex. Smooth move, Mike.

And that is the formula of the film. We watch Mike mope around and unsuccessfully try to pick up girls. He is generally a wreck throughout the film, just as we all are when we are getting over someone. It may feel like it is hopeless and that you'll never be with someone again, but that feeling will eventually pass. All you need is a little time (some more than others) and of course someone new to come along. It may take a while, but it will happen eventually, at least that is what I keep telling myself. Ha!

Swingers is a funny and observant comedy and well deserving of its bro-status. One of the things that makes this film so great is that all the character feel real, what they say, what they do, how they act. It feels natural even when it's obviously scripted to be comedic. Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau are a natural pair, Vaughn with his sly cockiness and Favreau with his more reserved nervousness. They kind of remind me of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau from The Odd Couple. Bottom line, it is one of the best male comedies to come out of the 90's.

Grade: A

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