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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Swingers: SE
Swingers: SE
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment // R // September 24, 2002
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Todd Siechen | posted September 30, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Highly Recommended
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P R I N T
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A fantastic film made for the unbelievably low budget of $250,000. This is guerilla filmmaking at its best. This film proves that great films, great direction, cinematography, acting, and creative production can happen for very little money and resources. It forces you to get creative and this is exactly what the crew on this film did so brilliantly.

The setting of young hollywood talents living the night life in swing clubs and after hours bars is the backdrop for our story of Mike Peters, (Jon Favreau who also wrote the film) and Trent Walker (Vince Vaughn) who are best friends and polar opposites when dealing with the ladies. Trent is a smooth talking player who seeks cheap meaningless carnal activity, while Mike is nervous, unsure, but very respectful of the ladies. Mike also happens to be recovering from a long term relationship and can't seem to dig himself out of the longing he feels for his ex-girlfriend.

Mike begins to see that his friend is really walking around with a sign on his forehead that says "Not getting it". Mike only wants to run back to his ex-girlfriend in New York and leave all of the Hollywood clubs behind, but Trent continuously drags him along to more parties only to bring him down further while urging him that he is 'money' and should be getting as much sex as possible. They each have their own unique and complimentary problems - Mike is love sick and can't find a way to get on with his life. Trent is the clueless womanizing idiot who is exactly like most of the guys we see on those dumb TV dating shows. Trent does all he can to pump up Mikes ego and get him into the game again. Mike becomes a sniveling puppy dog at the first site of a new lady who will listen to his problems. This whole story really rings true with me because it very closely resembles a part of my own life. Figuring out about our own needs and styles of functioning in romantic relationships is exciting and frightening at the same time. "Swingers" does a very good job at portraying the lifestyles of these young hollywood men as they learn about life, love, and themselves.

The production looks great. The lighting looks real and not synthetic like most big budget films do, but this is due mainly to the fact that it IS real. I suppose if you got millions of dollars for your film you might as well waste it on uneccessary lighting and catering, but this film doesnt suffer from big budget politics. There were no 4 hour lighting set ups in this film. Just mostly adusted light bulb wattage changes. The Hollywood swing clubs that function as the cultural playground for our characters lends a very nice textural feel to the film. After this film hit the public eye, these swing clubs were reportedly swarming with new business as a result.

VIDEO: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. The colors are good but a bit strong and the picture is a bit soft. Its a very average looking transfer

AUDIO: Dolby Digital 2 channel track that sounds average. The club music however comes alive and sounds great. English and French language tracks are included with English subtitles.

MENUS: The menu designs are animated swing style, simple and easy to navigate.

BONUS MATERIALS:
Audio commentary by Director Doug Liman, Editor Steve Mirrione. Additional illustrated action commentary with Vince Vaughn and writer Jon Favreau. They use on screen lines and pointers to pick out places in the film to illustrate things. I havnt ever seen this technique done on a DVD before although it is common for the weatherman on your local TV news.

Documentaries and featurettes:
"Making it in Hollywood": - A 4 part featurette talking about this unique productions and the story behind the story. This is fascinating because these guys are friends in real life almost the same as they are in the film. Jon apparently wrote the film as an exaggerated version of his real life. The four parts are broken down into:
Art Imitates Life: Writing the Story
Life Creates Art, Getting Swingers Made
Life Imitates Art: Swingers Culture
Art creates Life: Life After Swingers

Cutting Room Floor deleted scenes.

Swingers Mania Gallery - Images of props and bumper stickers.

Cast & Crew short filmographies

Swingblade short film - A hilarious spoof of Sling Blade meets Swingers.

Final Thought: "Swingers" does a nice job showing us that great films can come out of pennies for a budget. This film has heart and finds a solid place in my own experience to make it very relevant. Highly recommended.
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