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Swingers
cast: John Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Ron Livingston, Heather Graham, and Patrick Van Horn

director: Doug Liman

92 minutes (15) 1996
widescreen ratio 16:9
Pathé DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 8/10
reviewed by Martin Drury
Swingers combines the 'lounge' culture of Los Angeles in the mid-1990s with one man's struggle to overcome the pain of the breakdown of a long-term relationship. Also thrown into the mix are a number of bit players, actors who arrived on the L.A. scene because they were told that the streets were paved with gold and opportunities flew into the laps of the young and daring. The male leads; Mike and Trent (expertly played by Vince Vaughn and Jon Favreau) explore the male condition through late night entertainment. The two men fret about the mysteries of the female of the species. They debate the dating rulebook and, ultimately, they discover what it truly means to be a friend. Swingers is bittersweet rather than hilarious, a romantic comedy that embodies the death of all the romance. By the end of the film, Mike discovers that he is important as a person and he halts his emotional orbit around his former girlfriend.

At times, the bit players in the male menagerie appear as tedious, cardboard representations of young men looking for their first big breaks in the entertainment industry. Eventually, it becomes clear that this rather tepid interpretation of the young male in his prime is done for comic effect. The young men think they are invincible in their struggle against the world. They are not and are shown to be merely treading water in the cutthroat world of entertainment, media and sport.

On the first disc, two commentaries are includes as special features. In the first commentary, the director and editor of the film speak and in the second commentary, the two male lead actors discuss the film and how they took on the roles of the loveable losers in love Mike and Trent. The second disc of this DVD set features a four-part documentary on the making of the film. The documentary is clearly designed for those who consider Swingers to be a classic film. Those who sought this special edition out amongst the shop shelves will adore seeing how their classic was put together. Anyone who saw the film for the first time wouldn't share the fevered interest in watching the development from script to screen. Also includes on the second disc are: a spoof trailer for the film, three galleries and a trailer.

Swingers is wonderful voyage of self-discovery, both for the characters and for the audience. Yet, this DVD special edition release is a kiss to the fans of the movie. The extras are spread sparsely through the two discs and one doesn't get much more for their money when purchasing the special edition. A classic pulled down to the level of an 'also ran' by a badly thought out extras' formula.
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