Starring: Kendall Ryan Sanders, Noah Centineo, Shelby Wulfert
Director: Ann Deborah Fishman
Running Time: 93 mins
Swiped is an American film about a nerdy student who arrives at college to study computer science, only to find the rest of his class has no interest in the subject. However, he soon strikes up a strange relationship with his classmates when they ask him to use his expert coding skills to build the perfect dating app.
You can’t knock Swiped for getting to the heart of very contemporary problems – I can’t think of another film out there that tackles the issues surrounding dating apps. However, what you can knock it for is a total lack of narrative consistency, featuring a plot with undefined morals, irritating characters and often infuriating humour, making for an incredibly annoying watch throughout.
First things first, the film does have a story that you’ve seen work before – and work well. A nerdy teen who’s bullied by his cooler classmates, only to find his way to success through hard work and good morals while the social higher-ups meet an embarrassing downfall.
It’s a fairly easy story to get right, which is why I was bewildered by just how much of an unlikable me Swiped was. The cool kids are as infuriatingly smug as you’d expect, but what’s really strange is the fact that the nerd at the centre of the story isn’t particularly likable either.
The story follows his development from an awkward, submissive teen to a more confident, strong-willed individual, however as that story unfolds, he becomes less and less lovable, regularly losing the moral high ground that should let you support him no matter what.
As a result, there really isn’t even a glimmer of morally sound hope anywhere to see by the end of Swiped, making for a painfully frustrating watch that consistently fails to get you on board with its story.
Of course, the film’s intentions seem to be all good at first, trying to provide a moral critique of a society that not only accepts but seems to rely on the appalling behaviour that goes on on dating apps.
However, despite those good intentions, too often does the film seem to side with an approach to dating and relationships that’s far from the morally pristine one it’s trying to promote, with even our shy lead nerd taking a turn towards a more laddish and aggressive personality as the film develops.
In short, then, Swiped fails to impress or entertain on any level despite telling a simple story that focuses on a social problem with surely only one morally righteous side. However, what’s even worse is that it’s just not funny.
If the film were to have had at least a modicum of strong humour, then its unlikable morals and irritating narrative inconsistencies wouldn’t have been quite as grating. However, not only does that prove the case, but the consistently poor humour becomes yet another point of annoyance, only adding to the film’s irritating qualities.
Overall, I had an awful time with Swiped. Not in the slightest bit funny from the off, the film fails time and time again to deliver on a premise that’s surely simple to get right. Worsened by irritating characters and an inconsistent moral spectrum throughout, the film is a total waste of time, and that’s why I’m giving it a 3.4.