Based on real-life events of middle aged men who decided to protest against the monotony of life and start a synchronised swimming team, ‘Swimming with Men’ is a wonderful brit-com with a big heart.
Led by Rob Brydon, the ensemble cast are all superb and each have their moment of both hilarity and poignancy. The script is well written and reminiscent of ‘The Full Monty’ (indeed, many critics have made the joke that this is the “Pool Monty”). The quirky characters are great fun to watch, and the highlights of the film all center around their awkward choreography in the pool. The film knows not to take itself seriously, and instead revels in the bizarre circumstances of its existence. The story is fairly simple and a little cliché, but as a character driven piece it works remarkable well.
The cinematography and editing in the film are also great and really well demonstrate the beauty of the swimming in contrast to the mundane 9-5 job. One shot of Rob Brydon practicing his swimming in the lift felt like a direct reference to the ‘dole dancing’ scene in The Full Monty, contrasting the strange nature of what the characters are doing with the dullness of that person’s daily life.
On the down side, some of the plot and character choices were a little questionable and morally unsound. Specifically at fault was Thomas Turgoose’s juvenile criminal character, who was dealt with swiftly and without the correct thought into his actions or the consequences of those actions.
Overall, Swimming with Men is a lovely, if lightweight, comedy that shows glimmers of darkness, despite the fact that it never quite plunges to those depths.