Swing low – Swinging with the Finkels review

Swinging with the Finkels – Starring Mandy Moore and Martin Freeman. Directed by Jonathan Newman. Rated M. By Hilary Simmons.

Swinging with the Finkels sounds more fun than it is; a married couple try ‘swinging’ to put the spice back into their sex life. Unfortunately, there is a lot more arm flinging and hand wringing in this film than frisky suburban sexploits, and that’s a shame. It starts off promisingly – sunny streets, upbeat music and a multi-coloured montage of London locations – then cuts abruptly to a couples’ therapy session a la Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Meet Alvin (Martin Freeman) and Ellie Finkel (Mandy Moore), an average Covent Garden couple with happy-go-lucky attitudes, healthy bank balances, and an ailing sex life. The Finkels have tried everything to reignite the ‘spark’: professional counselling, amped-up porn, and even the unorthodox use of vegetables. But it isn’t until Ellie’s flamboyant gay assistant suggests swapping spouses with another couple that things actually start looking… well… up.

The movie, unfortunately, goes decidedly down (no, not like that; get your mind out of the gutter). A clichéd stream of ‘kinky’ couples swan through the Finkels’ front door to be cross-examined and checked off their compatibility list. Sadly, while the flesh on screen is only too willing, the Finkels are too busy trying feebly to articulate stances on monogamy for a hell of a lot of swinging to actually take place.

There are loads of crass jokes and gross-out gags, but the Finkels’ alleged rebellion against middle class morality fails to revive their sex life and inevitably causes a rift in their relationship. You will definitely wonder when they’ll resolve it, but probably not in the way writer-director Jonathan Newman hoped. The second half of the movie drags, and although the two likeable leads make it less painful, there’s only so much they can do with lame dialogue and limp jokes.

It’s not the worst film you could watch; it’s just too familiar and tame to serve as a satisfying sex comedy. A shame that the Finkels don’t have more fun on their short-lived foray into cross-partnering; there’s something genuinely disturbing about a film made in 2010 depicting anything beyond the missionary position as sexually deviant.


Swinging with the Finkels is available on DVD.

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