If Reservoir Dogs revealed that gangsters were geeks, Swingers reminds us that geeks want to be gangsters, too.
Taking Tarantino’s pop-culture philosophy to its ultimate conclusion, here the characters yak about Tarantino himself; add Scorsese and the Rat Pack to the conversation, and this should be a postmodern cul-de-sac.
Instead Swingers survives as one of the ’90s’ most entertaining comedies, a wryly honest dissection of male bravado and that rarity, a decent romcom for blokes.
When director Doug Liman Steadicams after his characters into a shabby club in imitation of GoodFellas, it’s less a satirical swipe at their delusions than a celebration of their chutzpah.
Aptly, Jon Favreau’s quick-paced script is autobiographical: his struggling New York comedian Mike is largely based on himself. Swingers’ smartest notion is to relocate the classic Manhattan courtship comedy to LA, riffing on the disparity between Mike’s fretfulness over dating etiquette, and the arch Hollywood glamour of best mate Trent’s (Vince Vaughn) lounge-bar lifestyle.
Vaughn has never bettered his breakthrough performance. Trent is a bit of a dick, but we’re seduced by his style and verbal skills.
The film’s slang, with its variations on the words ‘money’, ‘baby’, and ‘honey’, conjures up one of cinema’s most infectious, quotable universes.
Liman’s rambling, digressive style rewires an otherwise textbook ‘three nights out’ narrative. Most films would save “Vegas, baby” for the climax, but here it suits the story perfectly to start high and then work down.
Who needs a casino win when you already have money, baby? Extras are DVD holdovers.