Starring: Rob Brydon, Rupert Graves, Charlotte Riley
Director: Oliver Parker
Running Time: 96 mins
Swimming With Men is a British film about a frustrated businessman who comes across a group of men that participate in a friendly swim club at the local pool, giving him the opportunity to finally let loose from all of his stress and frustrations.
I really enjoyed this film. It may be a little bit of a cheesy feel-good flick, and it’s not quite the world’s most hilarious comedy, but it’s a consistently funny film with a light-hearted atmosphere, fun characters and entertaining performances throughout, all of which make it a great chance to just sit back and smile.
Before we get into that, however, I will say that the film’s opening act doesn’t quite work, given its emphasis on drama that’s just never that convincing. Centring on Rob Brydon, a businessman completely fed up with his corporate life, the story suddenly sends him into a full mid-life crisis, suspecting his wife of an affair that she’s clearly not having, and completely losing his cool at his work.
Now, it’s a story we’ve seen before, and it makes sense, however, the way in which the story sees this main character jump so dramatically from crisis to crisis seemed a little tenuous to me, and set up for a film where the drama really isn’t all that convincing, and as such not particularly engrossing.
With that said, while the emotional side of the story is never that great, it’s the film’s main focus, being an uplifting and simple comedy, that really works. As I said, the film isn’t exceptionally hilarious, and although there are a couple of really big laughs here and there, the majority of the comedy is just simply satisfying chuckles throughout.
But in the end, that’s all you really need, as the film is so light-hearted that it makes you feel perfectly happy to just sit there and smile at everything. Along with that good humour as well, the performances are pretty strong across the board – nothing too dramatic, but nothing too silly – the perfect recipe for a wonderfully easy-going and enjoyable movie.
I will say that most of the actors don’t manage to make their characters’ dramatic arcs work quite as well, but that’s partly down to the fact that the screenplay fails to really make the drama work, however the likes of Rob Brydon, Rupert Graves, Jim Carter, Adeel Akhtar, Daniel Mays, Thomas Turgoose and Charlotte Riley are all really funny throughout, and their chemistry together as a part of the swim club is fantastic.
As a result, you’ll be laughing right the way through as you grow to connect with the members of this swim club on their journey, and even though the story descends into what some may seem as overly cheesy feel-good nonsense, I found it even more charming given how likable and entertaining the lead group was.
Overall, then, I was surprised by Swimming With Men. Despite what seems like a cheesy premise, it’s a consistently entertaining and enjoyable film with good humour, strong performances and great chemistry throughout, and despite just failing to inject any dramatic intrigue into the mix, it’s a lovely time at the movies, which is why I’m giving it a 7.4.