SWINGING COUPLES (French version: ÉCHANGISTES) (director/writer: Simon Boisvert; cinematographer: Nathalie Lasselin; editor: Renaud Rouverand; music: Simon Wayland/Peter Xirogiannis; cast: Kina Beauchemin (Veronique), Erwin Weche (Charles), Diana Lewis (Lisa), Sylvain Latendresse (Luc), Natasha M. Leroux (Valerie), Sebastien Boivin (Nicolas), Eric Violette (Rick), Pascal Rollin (Narrator); Runtime: 78; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Simon Boisvert; 2007-Canada-in French with English subtitles)
“Another pleasingly accomplished assault on contemporary social mores by talented French Canadian director, writer and producer Simon Boisvert.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Another pleasingly accomplished assault on contemporary social mores by talented French Canadian director, writer and producer Simon Boisvert (“Barmaids”/”Guys, Girls and a Jerk”). Though this film is more mature, demanding and perceptive than the others, it’s not necessarily more enlightening or entertaining. It aims to give us a clearer understanding of why people chose to be swingers, purporting that social convention dictates that “swingers are stuck in the closet like homosexuals were twenty years ago.”
The film opens as a serious voiced narrator tells of a recent Canadian court decision to legalize swinging clubs. It then follows three couples who all are experiencing some problems in their relationship. Veronique (Kina Beauchemin) is an unhappy camper at work and at home. She’s an attractive restaurant waitress married for the last three years to her jealous and frustrated office worker husband Charles (Erwin Weche), who confesses to her girlfriend she’s never had an orgasm and seeks sexual satisfaction in her adulterous affairs. The passive Nick (Sebastien Boivin) poses as Mr. Cool, who manages web sites and is locked into an open relationship with the aggressive Valerie (Natasha M. Leroux), who refuses his offer to live together. The most obnoxious character in the bunch, Luc (Sylvain Latendresse), a smug striving businessman whose idea of happiness is to get rich, jerk off and boss around his cowering frigid live-in girlfriend secretary Lisa (Diana Lewis). In a Boisvert film, this sort of scoundrel usually ends up winning with no moral put down (which is contrary to the Hollywood formulaic way).
The three couples, all close friends, decide at a dinner party, on the urging of Valerie, to go to a swingers club, even though the two other girls are reluctant nevertheless the guys are looking forward to it. We follow their experiences at the seedy club, as they make it a regular nightly stopover. The aftermath results in a closer look at their current relationships, as these shallow characters are forced to dig a little deeper into themselves to answer questions about the meaning of sex, relationships and love. These answers are seen in the climax, as we follow what changes in their relationships take place a year later from their daring club days.
Thankfully it’s told in a comical way, and draws more laughs than pathos from how miserable one can be when not in love and feeling lonely. Though the sex scenes start out hot, there are fadeouts that leave all to the imagination; and, though there’s the promise of full-nudity it never materializes. What materializes is a technically and sound narrative, especially for such a low-budget film, that’s worth catching if you can on DVD. It will be released in theatres in Quebec on March 30th.
REVIEWED ON 1/31/2007 GRADE: B
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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