Once upon a time a group of precocious Hollywood wannabes made an Indie film that really turned things around and got them noticed by the rest of Hollywood. The group consisted of Doug Liman (director), Vince Vaughan (actor) and Jon Favreau (writer/actor). Liman is responsible for re-igniting the spy genre with The Bourne Identity, Jon Favreau put the heart into a film franchise (Iron Man) about a hero without a heart* and Vince Vaughan… well, everyone** fell in love with Vaughan and let him turn up in a string of Hollywood comedies which led to him becoming a household name.
Swingers is slightly autobiographical. It’s the story of a group of actors trying to make it in Hollywood. Mike (Favreau) is a comedian from New York that’s trying to recover from a six year relationship. It’s been six months and he’s not doing very well so his best friend Trent (Vaughan) takes it into his own hands to help him get back into the game and start meeting women again. He does this by taking Mike to Las Vegas. The rest of the film is a string of moments that eventually lead to Mike getting over his troubles through meeting someone he finally clicks with. There’s not much else to it.
This 1996 film walks us through what it was like to be a part of that particular Hollywood scene. There are many conversations in cafes, clubs and cars that if it weren’t for the presence of Favreau’s character to get us through them, would just be irritating. Case in point, Vaughan’s use of the word “money” is akin to Paris Hilton saying “hot” and comes off equally intellectual.
One moment where the characters argue about a scene from Reservoir Dogs and whether or not it was stolen from Scorcese then gets all post-modern on us and emulates it may very well be the high point of the movie. There’s also a reference to Lucas’ first film THX-1138 through the number plate of the car that Mike drives.I feel like the purpose of this movie was purely for these kids to ingratiate film royalty with the intent of it giving them the necessary leg up into the Hollywood elite that they so desperately wanted and as history tells us – it worked.
Good on them, too.
*In the comics he eventually had an artificial heart transplant.
**Not everyone of course, but you get the point.