Sometimes a movie comes across as trying so hard to hit the buttons of popular success that it has all the charm and fun sucked right out of it. Meet Swinging With The Finkels. With a multi-national cast, sex and relationships as a subject, lowest common denominator jokes and an utterly predictable plot, it’s like someone sat down and made a checklist of everything that’s worked in Brit-coms in the past 20 years and then tried to distil it into a single film, and in doing so created something utterly anaemic.
Alvin and Ellie Finkel (Martin Freeman & Mandy Moore) have been married for years and are feeling bored with one another. The romance is gone, neither can be bothered with sex and their whole relationship is feeling stale. After talking about the various options to spice things up, they decide to try a bit of wife swapping. Will it work, or will it just highlight the cracks in their marriage they’re trying to paper over?
Despite only running 85 minutes, Swinging With The Finkels feels tired and slow. Indeed the only thing that excited any interested in me was trying to work out why Mandy Moore’s character wanted to swing with Angus Deayton. After all she’s in her late 20s and he’s in his mid 50s. As Alvin & Ellie lay in bed wondering where it all went wrong, I couldn’t help thinking the problem was they are dull, tedious people with little discernible personality and that’s probably why they’re bored with one another. I was bored with them with 20 minutes, so quite how they managed years together I don’t know.
There’s a lot of talent in the cast but they’re given precious little work with, not helped by an editing style that seems designed to mistime every potential moment of humour. Each time the film gets desperate it reaches for a tired gay joke, to the point where I started to wonder whether the problem between Alvin and Ellie is that he’s actually gay (as Jerry Stiller’s character suggests early on in the film when the movie decides ‘fag’ jokes will be funny).
Swinging With The Finkels is pretty much a misfire on all front, and I’d imagine both Moore and Freeman will be happy to write this one off and try to forget it ever happened. They’re both a lot better than this movie.
Overall Verdict: Despite a lot of talent putting in their best efforts, a lacklustre and unfunny script – coupled with some odd editing choices – results in a movie that flops far more than it swings.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac