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Swimming With Men


Stars: Rob Brydon, Jim Carter, Rupert Graves, Daniel Mays, Thomas Turgoose, Charlotte Riley, Adeel Akhtar, Jane Horrocks

Director: Oliver Parker

This knockabout British comedy is a kind of Rocky of the middle-aged male synchronised swimming world. Brydon plays Eric, an accountant fed up with his life and in the shadow of his wife (Horrocks, somewhat miscast), who has just been elected a local councillor and seems to be the amorous target of her immediate boss (Nathaniel Parker).

Much to his surprise, Eric, having walked out of the marital home in a huff, finds himself suborned into joining the swim club at the baths he frequently visits. 'Rule one,' warns widower Ted (Carter), the leader, darkly, 'no one talks about Swim Club.' Ho ho.

Also in the swim are builder Colin (Mays), teenager Tom (Turgoose), forever on the run from the law, Luke (Graves), whose wife has left him, and Kurt (Akhtar), plus two fringe members known only as 'Silent Bob' and 'The New Guy'.

They're all floundering in their attempts to get some synchronised routines together until a) Eric tells them they need an even number to bring their manoeuvres off, and b) pool boss Riley starts to whip them into shape. While some of this is a mite soporific, and the actors never really convince us they could fuse into a team going to the world championships, the latter scene does work in a weird kind of way, as we get swept emotionally along with a surge of support for the underdogs.

The finale back home, as Eric tries to extract his wife from Parker's oily clutches, does go on a bit too long, but it's good-natured fun, while never threatening to be anything more.

David Quinlan

UK 2018. UK Distributor: Vertigo. Colour by Movielab.
96 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 02 Jul 2018