❉ Does Rob Brydon’s new comedy sink or swim? Ben Peyton delivers his verdict.
Poor old Rob Brydon’s Eric is down on his luck. Stuck in a dead end job whilst his wife’s political career is flourishing, he convinces himself she’s having an affair. As his world begins to crumble around him he seeks solace from the one thing that provides him with a hint of comfort; swimming.
In the pool he splashes upon an unusual group of men ranging from 20 to 70 who are also floundering in the deep end of life, but just so happen to be part of a synchronised swimming team. He joins them and together they examine their lives, assess what brought them to this point and find themselves unlikely entrants in the unofficial Men’s World Synchronised Swimming Championships.
It’s a fairly unique basis for a story and one that doesn’t quite manage to stay afloat despite the best efforts of an excellent cast.
Rob Brydon’s natural charm and excellent comic timing is the film’s saving grace. Immensely likeable despite his oafish behaviour he does his best with a script which, sadly, doesn’t match his considerable talents.
There’s a handful of laughs to be had along the way, but certainly not enough to make full use of the fine ensemble. They’re all a fairly likeable bunch, but not explored enough. Their surfaces are barely scratched so it’s hard to feel sorry for any of them, apart from Jim Carter’s Ted.
A weak love story between Charlotte Riley’s Susan and Luke, played by Rupert Graves, isn’t believable and certainly not one to root for given the circumstances of the breakdown in his marriage.
Director Oliver Parker produces interesting shots, particularly in some of the underwater scenes, and there’s a decent score from Charlie Mole accompanying the action.
Swimming With Men is a film to watch on a wet Sunday afternoon that will pass 96 minutes, but one that you will probably forget as soon as the credits roll.
5.5 out of 10.
❉ ‘Swimming With Men’ (12A) opens in UK cinemas 6 July 2018. Running time: 97 minutes. Director: Oliver Parker. Starring: Rob Brydon, Charlotte Riley, Rupert Graves, Jim Carter, Daniel Mays, Nathaniel Parker, Thomas Turgoose, Jane Horrocks, Peter Coe, Adfeel Akhtar, Steve Carroll.
❉ Ben Peyton is an actor, voiceover artist, husband and dad. Credits include Band Of Brothers, Holby City, Emmerdale and he was a regular in The Bill. You can find Ben on Twitter – @BenPeyton007 or at his website – www.benpeytonreviews.com.