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Swimfan (2002)
Written by: The Arrow
Director: John Polson

Starring:
Jesse Bradford/Ben
Erika Christensen/Madison
Shiri Appleby/Amy
5 10
PLOT-CRUNCH
Hunky star swimmer Ben (Bradford) makes a big mistake: he puts his dick in the new “big headed” girl (Christensen) at school, therein cheating on his oh-so sweet girlfriend (Appleby). You see, this new girl is a fruity-fruitcake and she takes rejection very, very, very badly. Cue in “hip” rock song.
THE LOWDOWN
What can I say about "Swimfan" that you haven’t already guessed by watching the trailer? Is it as a predictable as it seems? YES! No, you don’t get it...it is sooooo freaking by-the-numbers and transparent that I couldn’t feel any tension at any time throughout. I knew who would hit the grave and who would survive and I guessed every plot turn to come. But that’s not to say that I didn’t derive some cheap fun out of this teen silliness.

If you’ve seen "Fatal Attraction" or know my life story, you’ll know what this baby is all about. Guy cheats on girl with messed up ho, ignores ho, ho goes nuts. Not much more to it than that. But what made the film somewhat enjoyable for me were definitely its strong performances. The three teen leads (Bradford- Christensen- Appleby) nail their respective parts and actually manage to elevate them above the “clichéd written” roles that they really are on paper. So props to the actors in the house for giving this cinematic “Big Mac” a touch of class. They mucho deserved a more original screenplay than this one to work with. The cinematography the film sports is also pretty slick, especially during the pool sequences which are simply gorgeous. Shit, now I want to go swimming! I also got some well placed kicks in the balls out of seeing Madison fuck with Ben’s life in her own “creative” loony ways. Let’s face it; it’s hard to go wrong with an “obsessive scorned lover” film formula. It’s just always a trip to sit through (for me anyways).

But my nit-picks with this peeved gal are many. First, it plays it way too safe, hiding all of the violence off-screen. Showing me “something” would’ve given this generic tramp some of the edge that it needed. Then, there’s the character of Madison (Christensen) who really would’ve benefited from more than just “she’s fucking insane” and plays music. That’s what I dug so much about “Fatal Attraction”; at least it gave us both point of views and approached its lead crazy dudette with some drops of substance. You won’t find any of that in this sandbox. I never felt an ounce of sympathy for Madison (nice ass though) and half the time I didn’t really understand why she was so obsessed with that swim dude. Basically, she’s obsessed because the movie says she’s obsessed. I also felt like some the scenes were cut too short to speed up the running time and keep the teens (aka target audience) awake. That’s all fine and dandy but how am I supposed to be affected by a scene if I’m not allowed to digest it before we jump to the next one. Calm down movie, can I cum over some of it please? And last but not least, there’s the semi-absurd ending that abandons half of its plausibility to give us that pre-determined ending that’s supposed to please the crowd. To be honest, it worked on my drone ass. Yes, the chain of events leading up to the “finale” was kind of idiotic, but I had a blast when it arrived anyways. "Fatal Attraction" did the same thing with its ending and it worked there too.

So what’s the verdict? I’m half-half on this thriller-light created for mass consumption. Swimfan is “fast-food” cinema at its best or at its worst all depending on how you look at it. Is it entertaining? In a simple, you’ll forget it 3 minutes later…YES! Is it a well constructed piece of celluloid? Not really. The ball’s in your court! Let’s jump in the pool!
GORE
All we get is light blood flowing in a pool. This is way too dry and some onscreen violence could’ve helped give it more “oomph”. Damn PG-13!
ACTING
Jesse Bradford (Ben) is dead-on as the “everyday” duder that gets his life messed with. I bought his various emotional levels and his bang on delivery. Erika Christensen (Madison) does what she has to do: be a sexy, scary bitch from hell. When she said the line: “You love me, I know it!” I got chills up my spine. She’s also a great piece of eye candy. God, I loved her lips! Shiri Appleby (Amy) is so loveable as the “perfect” girlfriend that she almost renewed my faith in relationships. Then I realized that this was only a movie and that in reality...relationships blow chunks.
T & A
Bradford goes shirtless for the ladies and Chistensen looks great in a slim bathing suit. She also has a naked pic of her up at one point but her melons are unfortunately hidden.
DIRECTING
We get some nice shot compositions, I also appreciated the quick triple shots the director injected in there and dug the sumptuous cinematography. Sadly, the direction couldn’t rise above the standard script and suspense was painfully lacking.
SOUNDTRACK
The eerie score worked, too bad we didn’t get enough of it. Most of the flick’s sounds come from hip rock/pop songs by the likes of Sevendust and Bush. Gotta sell that soundtrack yo!
DVD FEATURES
Distributor: Fox Home Entertainment Release Date: March 11, 2003

IMAGE: We can watch the film in Full Screen 1.33.1 or Widescreen 2:35.1. The image itself is clear, the colors solid and specs, absent.

SOUND: The English Dolby 5.1 Surround served the dialogue and the CD-selling soundtrack like a champ.

EXTRAS:

Commentary (full-length): Director John Polson and actors Jesse Bradford and Erika Christensen partake in this entertaining commentary. They demonstrate great chemistry between them while providing us with various insights and opinions on the production: what was planned, what wasn’t, the casting (they love Hedaya…who doesn’t…great man!) while maintaining a keen sense of humor throughout. Fun commentary.

Deleted and extended scenes: Here we get deleted and extended scenes from the film, 11 in total. Some of the scenes gave more depth to the film, others were useless and with the John Polson's commentary “on”, I found them interesting to listen to, especially in terms of why the cuts were made.

The Girlfriend from Hell Featurette (~ 11 minutes): Actors Jesse Bradford and Erika Christensen come in to talk about the film and their characters in this slickly edited featurette. Even though Bradford, director Polson and the film’s producers come in to blab, this is mainly Christensen’s show and I enjoyed hearing her thoughts as to how she tackled the role. An easy watch.

We also get the 28 Days Later Trailer. Where’s the Swimfan trailer??? Do I smell “Easter Egg”?

Overall, this is a quality DVD for an “ok” movie.
BOTTOM LINE
"Swimfan" is uninspired, predictable and as see-through as the water in its pool. It has ZERO scares or originality but…I was still actually amused for an hour and a half while watching it. If you’re craving some easy licks at the teen shop, reel it in. I do recommend you watch it on tape though. How about a double bill of "Fear" and "Swimfan"? That way you get both perspectives on psychotic genders. Or better yet, rent the mother of them all “Fatal Attraction”! Having said that I learned three things while watching Swimfan: 1) Avoid girls with big heads 2) Cheating on your girlfriend is wrong if you get pinched 3) Fear is a way better movie and I appreciate it more now. Gotta watch that sucker again!
BULL'S EYE
From the Official Site: "Swimfan" represents the combined efforts of two independent production companies: GreeneStreet Films (which last year, produced the Oscar nominated "In the Bedroom" and the acclaimed "Piñero") and Michael Douglas' Furthur Films.
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