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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Swinging with the Finkels

MOVIE REVIEWS

SWINGING WITH THE FINKELS (2010)

Starring Mandy Moore, Martin Freeman, Melissa George, Jonathan Silverman, Jerry Stiller, Elizabeth Tan, Graham Bohea, Carolyn Tomkinson, Edward Akrout, Daisy Beaumont, Angus Deayton, Tim Beckmann, Michael Burgess and Paul Chowdhry.

Screenplay by Jonathan Newman.

Directed by Jonathan Newman.

Distributed by Freestyle Releasing.  85 minutes.  Rated R.

 

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Swinging with the Finkels 

Perhaps it is for the best that Mandy Moore not find true love. 

It’s a shame, I guess.  I mean she seems like a nice person.  She is sweet and cute and can be kinda funny. 

However she is following up Love, Wedding, Marriage, one of the worst-reviewed films of the year, with this awkward attempt at romantic comedy – one that tries to be edgy and shocking, but is instead surprisingly square and conventional.  More importantly, it’s just not very funny. 

This is not even taking into consideration her 2007 unwatchable rom-com double feature of Because I Said So and License to Wed, which, shockingly, were even worse than either of these two. 

However, if Swinging with the Finkels’ best selling point is that it is slightly better than Because I Said So or License to Wed, things are not looking good. 

Not to say this is all Mandy’s fault.  There is plenty of blame to go around here.  However, it certainly doesn’t help that Moore (and most of her co-stars) seem to be phoning it in.  Nor the fact that she has absolutely no chemistry with the man who plays her husband (nebbishy comic Martin Freeman from the British version of The Office), so that you literally spend the entire movie wondering why Moore would ever be with him, much less go to the extreme lengths she does to save their marriage. 

But mostly, it comes down to a horribly weak script, full of maudlin emoting, dumb sight gags (a woman with two breast pumps attached, yuk yuk), and even worse jokes. 

Swinging with the Finkels is a dual British and American film, made in London.  You can tell this because nearly every major couple in the film has one person from the US, one from Great Britain.  Thus, Yanks like Moore, Jonathan (Weekend at Bernie's) Silverman and Jerry (Seinfeld) Stiller show up for a bit and have little to do – and do that little bit rather poorly. 

The basic idea is rather simple.  A couple has been married a while and is going through a dry patch.  The wife decides that maybe what they need to shake things up is to swap with another couple.  She takes this advice from her flamboyantly gay French best male friend… yeah that’ll work for an uptight straight couple. 

It seems to be trying to be a new millennium equivalent of the old British sex farces of the 60s and 70s, full of bawdy jokes, big boobs, smirky titles like Sex with a Smile and slumming soon-to-be real actors like Marty Feldman, Denholm Elliott and Elaine Paige paying their hard knocks before real acting jobs would come calling. 

Of course, Finkels despite its randy central concept and an extended sequence of masturbation with a vegetable (don’t ask) turns out to be way too timid to be bawdy.  Despite near constant talk about sex, it barely deserves a PG-13 rating, despite for some reason being saddled with an R.  There is no gratuitous nudity, mature subject matters are used cartoonishly and the title swinging happens discreetly off-camera, but cucumbers were harmed in the filming of this movie. 

So was Mandy Moore’s acting career, which already had more than enough strikes against it.  Every once in a while during the film, you see a brief glimpse of the charisma and charm that she does possess as an actress, but then it is swallowed up by another bad joke or maudlin musical sequence.  Otherwise, the main lesson in Swinging with the Finkels is that Moore should probably revisit her musical career.  Or at the very least, fire her agent for letting her keep getting involved in these irredeemable projects.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: August 26, 2011.

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Copyright ©2011 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: August 26, 2011.

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