Movie review / ‘Swimming With Men’ (M)

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ERIC (Rob Brydon) crunches numbers for a big company that takes him and his mathematical skills for granted. His life is blighted by the monotony of the daily routine. He adores his wife Heather (Jane Horrocks) but she’s just been elected to the local council. Eric thinks she fancies the mayor. When he moves out, the boredom accompanies him.

Eric swims in the local pool where he sees a group of men, mostly middle-aged, enjoying each other’s company. He finds them agreeable to be with. They decide to make themselves into a synchronised swimming team just for the fun of it.

At the pool, Susan (Charlotte Riley) instructs a women’s synchronised group. A visiting Swedish swimmer fancies her. More importantly, he sees no reason why the men should not enter an unofficial world synchronised swimming competition in Italy in six weeks’ time. Susan agrees to coach them. It’s an arduous rush to get fit and develop a routine. They compete. They don’t win gold. But when they get back, they find a heroes’ welcome. And Eric goes home.

Aschlin Ditta’s screenplay provides director Oliver Parker with a story for a bunch of reliable British actors to deliver in this 97-minute somewhat soggy around the edges yet pleasant lightweight movie. Team members don’t look beautiful exposing all that pale skin and flaccid flesh. But they do deliver in the water.

“Swimming With Men” reminded me how much more Jane Horrocks offers than “AbFab’s” ditsy Bubble. Her versatility came to the fore in “Little Voice”, which garnered her nominations for awards from many film festivals.

At Dendy, Palace Electric, Capitol 6, Limelight and Hoyts Belconnen

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Movie review / 'Swimming With Men' (M)
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Dougal Macdonald
“CityNews” film reviewer

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