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Critic's Pick

'Swingers'

July 19, 1998|Kenneth Turan

Ruefully funny and unpretentious, "Swingers" is helped along by a clever script and the not surprising fondness it feels for its characters. Directed and photographed by Doug Liman for a bargain $250,000, the 1996 film was written by star Jon Favreau to showcase himself and his actor friends. Shot in the clubs and boites of Hollywood after dark, Swingers' passion for ambience is one of its charms. Here are these guys, looking for women and looking a little foolish in the process. Except for Mike (writer Favreau), who is mourning a traumatic breakup more than he is looking. Most of "Swingers" involves hanging out with Mike and his pals as they prowl around in search of female phone numbers. Mike's pals have a saving grace, and that is their genuine concern for their friend, and not just in a beer commercial way. Confident of its emotional effects, "Swingers" knows how to breathe life into its people, and hooking audiences is its reward. Vince Vaughn (left) and Patrick Van Horn star (Showtime early Monday at 4:30 a.m.).

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