After I watched SWINGERS for the first time, I wondered why more women did not take note of it. The only response I ever hear come from men saying how much they can relate to the situations presented in the movie by the two main characters. What’s funny is that the emotions the men go through can also be relatable with women. It’s also a very revealing look at how the dating scene works from the perspective of the opposite sex. I know it’s probably a little exaggerated in some scenes and characters; it’s still also funny to often find yourself going, “Yeah, I’ve been there.” The key thing about SWINGERS is that the characters dive into exactly how they feel and explain it in a way that we often don’t. We may have thought those exact same things but constantly internalize. Here it’s all out in the open and very humorous.
The heart of SWINGERS lies with Mike (Jon Favreau) a guy going through a bad break-up who just can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There to give him a guiding hand is Trent (Vince Vaughn) a womanizing bachelor who has an answer for everything. Both characters serve as an extreme when it comes to the male psyche. The best thing is that you take the intimate journey through dialogue and location.
At the beginning we are thrust into Mike’s personal shame spiral. Trent calls his best pal up telling him that the best way to get over his break-up is to check out the rest of the fish in the sea. After much convincing, Trent and Mike head out to Vegas to find out what the city of sin has to offer. Mike is hesitant the entire time with Trent basically pushing behind him. We quickly get to know our characters in this one trip. Trent is badgering Mike about moving on even if it’s with a girl he cares nothing for. It’s all about the “beautiful babies”. From the get-go, Trent’s personality comes off as A-typical and boring until he tells the story of an audition he went on as a child. Here you figure out how crafty and genius Trent really is. While the story was told to show how charismatic the character is, you get more from that interaction than was planned.
As the story continues on we get to meet more of the people that Mike and Trent surround themselves with. Their friends are each a potential wingman in a certain situation. One of the stand-outs here is Ron Livingston who plays Ron, a longtime pal of Mike’s that sympathizes with his situation but when it comes down to it won’t let him wallow in his self-made sadness. At times, you get to see how truly low Mike is and the line between understandable and flat out awkward. In one scene, perhaps the most memorable, Mike finally scores a number and goes against the guy calling rules deciding to reach out to this certain woman the same night. He calls her over and over in order to get the voicemail just right, each one more painful than the last. Finally the woman picks up the phone and tells her to never call him again. His attempt to be sweet ends up looking scary and desperate.
Throughout the entire movie, Trent tries to slam the rules of contacting a woman into Mike’s head. Mike like the rest of us doesn’t completely buy what he’s selling and doesn’t realize until later that confidence is really the key. You never expect that being yourself would be one of the morals of the story. His friends might have been there in the wing to help him out at any time but Mike grows on his own. It perfectly proves that after any break-up, you end up being the one to pull yourself out of the funk.
SWINGERS is a film that will never get tiresome. It might sound corny but Favreau and Vaughn deliver strong performances that are so down to earth that we forget their even acting. The film offers something that both sexes can relate to and dare I say something that women can sympathize with. SWINGERS might serve as the best realistic guys relationship comedy, but to limit the film to just that does it zero justice.
Video: The transfer here is decent. With a film like this one, there’s really no need to go overboard when it comes to imagery. There were a few times when certain scenes were blurry, though it doesn’t really matter too much when it comes to the overall picture. (1.78:1 Widescreen).
Audio: At first I noticed that the sound quality was so-so. I figured that the dialogue would be the most important aspect when it came to getting this film on blu-ray. After doing some research, I figured out that if you want the 5.1 sound you have to change it in the menu. Also, Liman points out during his commentary that they could not afford to master the audio so in turn they did it all themselves. Still decent, but it helps knowing that you have to switch the audio quality. (5.1 DTS-HD).
Commentary with Doug Liman and Stephen Mirrione: Director Doug Liman and editor Stephen Mirrione serve as commentators on this feature. As a huge fan of the films of Liman, I was more than happy to listen to this commentary. I didn’t really know what to expect going in but I learned a lot more about the film than I bargained for. Definitely not a bad thing! Plus, they both made it really entertaining. With several commentaries, I often feel like I’m five seconds away from falling asleep. That was not the case here. I highly recommend listening.
Commentary with Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn: Now this commentary was something that I expected. If this Blu-ray had not come with it, I would have raged so hard at The Weinstein Company. Luckily I don’t have to do that. I really wanted to hear personal stories of inspiration when it came to finding and building these characters and I got that. They give a ton of interesting info about little details that people may have missed. It’s also interesting to note that Favreau wrote a sequel to this film but it never got off the ground. I always just considered MADE a weird extension. If you love this film or the actors, I really suggest this feature.
“Making It in Hollywood”- Original Documentary (49:00): (Includes Art Imitates Life: Writing the Story, Life Creates Art: Getting Swingers Made, Life Imitates Art: Swingers Culture, Art Creates Life: Life After Swingers) A pretty extensive feature. It hits on all aspects of the production of the film from its birth to the afterlife. Like the commentary, there’s much to learn here. Every aspect is touched upon here and viewers will go away knowing way more than they did before.
The Cutting Room Floor (14:00): There are five scenes included here that were deleted from the final product. Of course I was interested in seeing what was left out and I can see why they were. Still worth the watch.
“Swingblade” Short Film (3:00): If you haven’t guessed, this is a parody of SWINGERS and SLING BLADE. Very unnecessary. That is all.