'Swingers' has too many New York guys

November 01, 1996|By Stephen Hunter | Stephen Hunter,SUN FILM CRITIC

Maybe it's that creepy kid who turned an out into a home run and started the Yankees on their illicit run to glory, but I'm not really big on New York guys any more.

"Swingers" is a total New York guys movie, and speaking of New York guys, have you ever noticed how none of them ever make it in New York? The upper crust of New York writing, acting and performing culture is almost totally non-New York guys. There's not a "Joey" or a "Tommy" anywhere at the Times Book Review!

So, like most New York guys, these New York guys have gone elsewhere -- to L.A., where they're struggling to be actors and comedians. I guess they're hoping someone'll make "Godfathers - XIX," which will keep them in Mafia buttonman roles until they die. Guys, it ain't gonna happen. Joey told me! (New York guys always worship somebody named "Joey.")

Anyhow, this one didn't seem so much like a movie as a casting call for "The Sal Mineo Story." All these New York guys with high foreheads, piles of shiny hair, showy neo-gangster clothes and rolls of bills! Enough already! Go on, you can have the East Side. The museums aren't worth it!

These New York guys are alternatingly sensitive and insensitive. I prefer my New York guys insensitive ("Here's yuh ALCS!") to sensitive, which means I wasn't too interested in the angst of Mike, wannabe comedian and big-time loser who is still moping because he broke off with his girl a year ago. Mike, played by the screenwriter of the film, Jon Favreau, is constantly being told how cool he is by his pals, but refuses to believe it because, well, he's too sensitive.

Actually, the lantern-jawed Favreau looks so much like David Groh that I kept waiting for Rhoda to wander in and start giving him hell for staying out too late. His pain I never felt; it's hard to feel pain for New York guys. Far more attractive was Vince Vaughn as the insensitive New York guy Trent (that ain't no kind of New York name!) who keeps trying to score with the babes and calls everything good "money," as he keeps saying to Mike, "You're money, baby!" At least he's got some energy and isn't moony and whiney.

There're some low New York laughs in "Swingers" and some nice clothes if you like bad taste, but on the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia. At least they know how to make a sandwich in that town!

'Swingers'

Starring Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn

Directed by Doug Limon

Released by Miramax

Rated: R (profanity, sexual situations)

Sun score: **

Pub Date: 11/01/96

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