Stop me if you've heard this one before. A cute young gal named Madison (Christensen) moves to a New Jersey town and instantly becomes smitten with star swimmer Ben (Jesse Bradford). But there's trouble: Ben's got a girlfriend (Shiri Appleby), and he's got a rough past... trouble with drugs and a stint in juvie. Now he's cleaned up and is eyeing a scholarship to Stanford, but an ill-conceived one-nighter with Madison lands him in all kinds of trouble once again.
Ben tries to put on the brakes, but to no avail. Soon, Madison (Internet nickname "SwimFan85," the working title of the film) is sending racy e-mails, visiting Ben's house unannounced, and offing his friends, thus injuring his chances at that scholarship. Damn stalkers.
Well, it's no Soul Survivors. Which is to say, at least the plot ostensibly makes sense, even if it is wholly uninteresting for its entire 82-minute running time. Swimfan spins its wheels (or should I say, flaps its flippers) without generating a single thrill except for one sudden-hand-slap-to-a-desk and one sudden-swimming-along-in-the-pool-head-bonk-with-a-corpse moment. When we aren't bored silly, we're treated to some of the most asinine excuses for plot developments ever put to celluloid. Do cops really ride in the back of a car with their prisoners? Only in Jersey, huh?
The cast is uniformly bland as well. Christensen exhibits no trace of the spark she showed in Traffic, though clueless direction from John Polson (a reformed actor who most recently played a thug in Mission: Impossible 2) can't have helped. For his part, Bradford comes off nothing like the "troubled past" teen his character is supposed to be. This mini-Freddie Prinze Jr. is about as edgy as tapioca. An annoying Cribs-inspired jump-around/back/forward editing style only makes the movie's weaknesses more visible.
I could go on about Swimfan's flaws, but why bother? In closing, I will simply point out the movie's biggest goof: If I was Ben, I'd dump that skank of a girlfriend and go for the blond! She's way hotter, dude, and psychos are great in the sack. Or the pool.
Why not take a dip?
Run time: 85 mins
In Theaters: Friday 6th September 2002
Box Office USA: $28.3M
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 14%
Fresh: 13 Rotten: 78
IMDB: 4.9 / 10
Director: John Polson
Screenwriter: Charles F. Bohl, Phillip Schneider
Starring: Jesse Bradford as Ben Cronin, Erika Christensen as Madison Bell, Shiri Appleby as Amy Miller, Kate Burton as Carla Cronin, Jason Ritter as Randy, Clayne Crawford as Josh, Dan Hedaya as Coach Simkins, Nick Sandow as Detective John Zabel, Phyllis Somerville as Aunt Gretchen Christopher, James DeBello as Christopher Dante, Patricia Rae as Jake's Nurse
Writer-director Christopher McQuarrie brings a dark and gritty tone to this larger-than-life franchise. Along with...
With a spectacular setting and two solid actors on-screen, this thriller builds enough solid suspense...
Those bright sparks at Pixar have done it again, taking a fiercely original approach to...
Slick direction and meaty performances may be enough for some viewers, but this boxing drama's...
Loose and impressionistic, this beautifully shot film traces the career of a DJ who pioneered...
Without a single moment of originality, this found-footage horror movie really deserves to be the...
An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs...