Swingers1Doug Liman’s films always seem like they’re jacked up on speed (Go, The Bourne Identity, etc), and Swingers mostly fits the Liman mold, though in a slightly different way. The pacing is brisk, with lots of parties and characters playing off each other. People move from place-to-place with startling frequency. But there’s a more intimate side to Swingers than the other Liman works I’ve seen: I’d certainly call it his most sophisticated movie. The story—which predominantly focuses on Mike (Jon Favreau), one of a gaggle of friends who moved to L.A. with dreams of acting, but who’s currently only managed to secure a stand-up comedy act at a downtown bar—is a very pleasant portrayal of what happens when you try to be someone you’re not. Mike’s inability to get over his ex, whom he left in New York when he took off to Hollywood, and his struggles with balancing heartache and the need to move on, should strike a chord with most men and women who’ve been through something similar: it’s a universal story, and Favreau’s mannerisms and enunciation are very convincing. He’s helped by a solid supporting cast, most notably Vince Vaughn as his bachelor-forever best friend who cares for him, yet has a very limited emotional palate and appears incapable of really understanding Mike’s heartache and what’s at its core—the fear that he blew his chance with “the one.” Mike’s multiple attempts to stray outside his comfort zone as a man, as a suitor, backfire badly, and he eventually realizes that listening to his circle of friends—all of whom play video games and drink beer like it’s still college—won’t get him the love that he needs. Eventually, he discovers his niche. It’s not the most creative of plots, but it captures a generation and the down-on-your-luck-in-so-many-ways motif effectively: it’s like comfort food, with more heart than Liman usually provides.

68/100