"CAN YOU BELIEVE THE HYPE?"
A Video Review of "Swimfan"
Copyright 2004 Glenn Walker
I saw a lot of movies in theatres in the summer of 2002. By far, the most hyped movie of that summer was Swimfan. You couldn’t blink without tripping over this preview or being smacked in the face with the poster. I grew to hate the previews, previously one of my favorite parts of going to the movies. The hype definitely lasted much much longer than the film itself was even in the theatres.
Swimfan was directed by second-rate actor John Polson and written by a pair of first timers, Charles Bohl and Phillip Schneider. Despite the strikes against them, it’s not that bad. I do wonder whose idea the ever-present blue tint in this flick was - that person deserves serious anti-props.
The story itself is child’s play to anyone who’s seen a Lifetime thriller or an early 1970s ABC movie of the week. Poor schmuck doesn’t return psycho chick’s affections and she stalks him with gimmicks and shocks that would make Alfred Hitchcock and William Castle blush.
The ‘victimized’ guy is Jesse Bradford, from Hackers who was also one of the underrated highlights of Bring It On. I put victimized in quotes because technically he brought all this on himself by being sexually promiscuous with a sociopath. It’s sort of a twist on the old slasher film theory that if you do it you die.
Taking on the Glenn Close Fatal Attraction role is Julia Stiles-wannabe Erika Christensen who was also in The Banger Sisters and the Leave It to Beaver movie. They do their best. Whether that’s a compliment or not remains to be seen.
Blink and you’ll miss relatively decent actors Dan Hedeya and Nick Sandow as obligatory adults, the coach and cop respectively. Also look out for Jason Ritter, son of the late John Ritter and star of "Joan of Arcadia" who does a good turn here.
What’s really annoying about the whole scenario is the "Pretty White Kids with Problems" vibe flowing through the whole movie. It’s hard for me to relate to happy, well-adjusted teenagers who have their own cars in high school, getting scholarships and having serious relationships - all at seventeen - even if they are being stalked by sociopathic girlfriends. Maybe it’s just me.
In retrospect, after finally seeing this film almost two years later, the previews were much much better than the film itself. I would have rather seen the preview.