• James Rutherford

'Swingers': A High-Spirited Comedy About an LA-Based Comedian Attempting to Overcome a Broken Heart


Movie poster for the 1996 film Swingers

Swingers (1996) is a playful and incisive comedy about a struggling comedian named Mike Peters (Jon Favreau) who has relocated from New York to Los Angeles to further his entertainment career. Suffering from a severely broken heart after his girlfriend of six years breaks up with him, Mike yearns for companionship while whiling away his evenings on the town with his small cadre of local friends.


Chief amongst Mike's compatriots is Trent (Vince Vaughn), a swaggering womanizer with an ego the size of the Hollywood Bowl. Trent coaxes Mike back onto the scene and attempts to educate him in the ways of engaging women—many of Mike's attempts crashing and burning miserably. An impromptu road trip to Las Vegas serves as a particular highlight, with the two men experiencing wildly divergent results in their romantic pursuits while visiting the City of Sin.


Written by Favreau and directed by a young Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity, Edge of Tomorrow), Swingers is a remarkably enjoyable comedic escapade, rife with pointed observations and laugh-out-loud interplay. Vaughn shines in his career breakthrough as the audacious Trent, whose supreme over-confidence serves as the foundation of much of the story's spasmodic hilarity. Produced on a shoestring budget and featuring a number of then-unknowns on both sides of the camera, Swingers now stands as one of the finest products of mid-90's arthouse cinema.

 

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