Inspired by such “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” British comedies like The Full Monty and Calendar Girls, this cute comedy deftly mixes slapstick with insights on such issues as gender rivalry and the unfashionable appearance of middle-aged men in swimsuits!
Unemployed, divorced, and estranged from his daughter, Frederik (Jonas Inde) is stuck in Loserville with no hope of getting back on the right track. However, his luck changes when a botched prank gives him the idea to mold his motley buddies into Sweden’s only all-male synchronized-swimming team, with the World Cup finals in Berlin as the seemingly unattainable goal. Funny, charming, and totally unconventional, THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE is the complete feel-good package for everyone, bringing out the synchronized-swimmer in all of us.
I never know what to expect from a package that arrives via New Video Group. They offer such a wide array of content, everything from documentaries, art house pieces, film festival entries, History channel specials…the list goes on. Generally I’ve known them most for their documentaries, but occasionally a lesser known film will creep into the mix and The Swimsuit Issue is one such entry. A Swedish film that focuses on a group of moderately unfit men who lose their position at a local rec center at which they play floor hockey, the film is definitely a bit of an odd setup from the get go, although it quickly enters familiar territory. For a U.S. comparison I will only echo what the New York Times said about this film: “The Full Monty meets Blades of Glory.”
The film is genuinely entertaining and it’s really only the concept that seems new or original. In essence these are characters we’ve seen before, but the situations seem a bit more real somehow, with all of them having something wrong in their lives at some point. Whether it’s family or job issues, these men all connect through some underlying current of despair and…well, describing it like that doesn’t make it sound very funny, does it? It’s definitely humor grounded in reality; nothing is really funny about the characters, only the antics they get into. No single one of the men are more memorable than the next, though Fredrik and his daughter do take a bit more of the focus since his daughter ends up coaching the men to pull of their synchronized swimming routine.
It’s always refreshing to watch a film like this, whether it’s English or Swedish, simply because of how enjoyable it is. While it does have serious themes in it that deal with everyday life, it still manages to be entertaining in a real-world kind of way. Having said that I doubt you’ll come back to it anytime soon; whenever I think about this film I realize I’m thinking about The Fully Monty instead as the two are just very, very similar in terms of tone and execution. Definitely a film to Rent, but still very entertaining.
New Video brings The Swimsuit Issue to DVD in a standard amaray DVD case. Nothing overly special about the presentation of the film here—no fancy exterior cardboard slipcase and the cover itself looks rather simplistic. Video and audio is a solid presentation overall and about what you’d expect from a documentary. As can be expected from a standard flick, the video is in 1.85:1 and the audio is a standard DD5.1 mix.
Extras are pretty hefty and include:
My Tribeca Story Presented by American Express
An Interview with THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE Team
As you can see a very light mix of extras, but I didn’t really expect too much from this one anyway. Still worth a Rental.
The Swimsuit Issue arrives on DVD on March 29th.