Review: “Swimfan”

Whilst it had its share of problems, the now classic “Fatal Attraction” certainly had an impact on popular culture and scenes ranging from the famous bathtub finale to a not particularly good way to broil rabbit have become engrained in our minds. Now comes “Swimfan”, a teen and more kiddie-safe version of ‘Fatal’ – its along the lines of the 1993 bomb “Crush” though does manage to establish itself in better territory thanks to Bradford and Polson who give what is an essentially TV movie style script a slight cinematic sheen.

That’s what’s so disappointing about this movie – the raw talent is here to make a memorable teen thriller but it never comes together due pretty much all to one of the most pedestrian scripts you can imagine. Every tired or worn out cliche appears here and plot turns can be predicted from so many miles away that your wondering why bother. Christensen, who broke through with a dynamic role as Michael Douglas’ daughter in “Traffic”, vamps it up in the Glenn Close role and sadly the over the top theatrics don’t suit her, she’s not convincingly scary and in many ways unintentionally funny which makes it an all the more disappointing effort on her behalf.

Bradford though is what keeps things watchable, the likable young guy looks better than ever (no good wet speedo shots though girls) and has an everyday charm and likability that finally gets to shine after only a glimpse in “Bring it On” and no sign of it at all during the woeful “Clockstoppers”. He’s certainly more fun than Shiri Appleby whose wasted in an otherwise dud role as his girlfriend (where’s Anne Archer when you need her). The rest of the supporting cast is fine but forgettable though what the likes of the great Dan Hedaya are doing this is unsure.

Director John Polson proves well adept behind the camera despite this being only his second movie and first major American film. From little visual tricks involving a loudspeaker in a hospital, to some well-edited tension he makes certain scenes which should be forgettable into effective moments whilst overall giving the picture a bigger and flashier look than it would have had in the hands of another helmer. Still his skill can’t save that script with its tired elements including Christensen’s “weird older brother”. Its disappointing in many ways as so much could’ve been done considering whose involved, but what’s here is fine for the teen market though sadly isn’t going to spread much beyond that.