Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Fortunately, positive media buzz for Swingers is drowning out an insipid, "Cocktail Nation"-style media campaign. Because while the movie is set in a world of pseudo-swanky poseurs and Dean Martin soundtracks, Swingers' script would be bright, funny, and real in any setting. The story of an aspiring comedian and L.A. transplant (Jon Favreau) and his well-meaning pals, Swingers is much more about the friends' daily existence (trying to pick up women, making Wayne Gretzky's head bleed in a video hockey game) than about martinis and suits. The bulk of the film is devoted to actors likely to succeed in future projects: Favreau, who also wrote the marvelous screenplay, exudes intelligence in his role as the endearing schlemiel who spends much of the film fretting over a lost love and dashing potential relationships with his well-meaning buffoonery. And Vince Vaughn, who plays Favreau's fast-talking slickster buddy (and who will appear in Steven Spielberg's Jurassic Park sequel next year), overcomes at-first-irritating catch-phrases ("money" equals "cool," "babies" equals "women") with genuine, intangible charisma. For a low-budget movie filled with low-budget hallmarks (scenes shot on the fly, nods to Quentin Tarantino), Swingers has something genuinely rare: a fine script and realistic characters.


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