Friday, June 10, 2011

Swinging with the Finkels (Jonathan Newman, 2010)

Martin Freeman and Mandy Moore play an urbane married couple in London who find their marriage at a nine-year-itch. The frequency of their love-making is, we’re told – “once or twice a month”, and, witnessing the disintegration of the marriage of their close friends after the husband has an affair, leads the two to question the strength of their own marriage. They try various methods to cure their marriage – from her attempting to masturbate with a cucumber to him dressing up as a fireman in an attempt to instil some spice into it – but all fail miserably. Finally, the idea of swinging is suggested.



Mandy Moore, who was surprisingly funny as the sanctimonious, evangelical Christian teenager in in Saved!, gives another strong performance here, a capable blend of comedy and drama. Her acting in the cucumber scene was hilarious and she never veers into the “nagging wife” caricature at any point. At the same time, Martin Freeman re-visits the lovable shtick that suited him so well as The Office’s Tim. The supporting performances are all equally good, not least Melissa George as the mother who’s devotions, having swung to her kids, has lost her husband’s. The two leads have an easygoing, likeable chemistry that produces some charming moments at times, and the backdrop of London - I spotted Primrose Hill in one scene - gave the film - as it frequently gives films shot in London - a scene of whimsy and magic.

So the acting is not really the problem here. The main problem is the shoddy script and superficial depiction of a marriage in the danger zone and the precautions taken to try to fix it. In real life, marriages are rarely solved via some Love Actually-esque montages of cheesiness that can be summarised with a weak banana analogy and an over-arching "the grass isn't always greener on the other side" message, less so by some swinging, then the couple getting mad at each other before finally realising just how much they love each other and all being well in the end. Admittedly, the hectic-looking film poster for this film was a fair enough advertisement for what we could expect from the film, and in-depth insights into marriage was not one of them. But all the same, for the glittering cast, upbeat editing and potential for comedy gold that was available, Swinging with the Finkels was a very poor effort. The new millennium has not exactly been a fantastic advertisement for romantic comedies, and Swinging with the Finkels is another one to toss into the trash pile.

9 comments:

puppia harness said...

Sounded good until you broached the script, shame as I was liking the sound of this movie until then!


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puppia harness said...

Sounded good until you broached the script, shame as I was liking the sound of this movie until then!


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Harry W said...

Wait, you paid to watch this? To use your own phrase Emma, you need to train.

Joanna said...

True story - I watch every movie Mandy Moore is in because I want her to have one great movie. I am often disappointed. Don't think this is available stateside yet. Nice write-up!

Anonymous said...

are there any sex scenes in swinging with the finkels?

Emma said...

lol nice. Not really, there is a scene where they do it but nothing's shown. Tis all very discrete!

Oh and Mandy Moore masturbates with a cucumber. :p

Amanda said...

I too wasted time on this movie,worse still after reading a good review!

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Anonymous said...

Wait, you paid to watch this? To use your own phrase Emma, you need to train.

Dagdgsd Dffbd said...
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