A SWINGERS WEEKEND (Jon E. Cohen). 90 minutes. Opens Friday (April 27). See listing. Rating: NNN
With its gently bouncy musical score and picturesque lakeside location, A Swingers Weekend positions itself as a fun, possibly racy little comedy. And then, well, it does something else.
Jon E. Cohen’s first feature, co-written with producer (and partner) Nicola Sammeroff, starts out as a low-key farce in which two couples, Lisa and Dan (Erin Karpluk, Randal Edwards) and Teejay and Skai (Michael Xavier, Erin Agostino) head up to cottage country to experiment with no-strings polyamory – only to find a third couple, Fiona and Geoffrey (Mia Kirshner, Jonas Chernick), horning in on their getaway.
Awkward? Sure. But once the ground rules are established and the participants explore new pairings, things get complicated – and the farce falls away so the movie can explore what’s really going on. Cohen and Sammeroff shift A Swingers Weekend into something deeper, and their actors are up for a similar bait and switch, finding layers within the roundelay of colliding desires.
Kirshner (with a mid-Atlantic accent) and Chernick bring understated pathos to long-married characters who’ve lost touch with one another, Karpluk and Edwards suggest deep fissures in their comfortable relationship and Agostino and Xavier play the intriguing contradictions of a newly engaged couple who’ve decided to celebrate their commitment to one another by sleeping with other people.
A tighter edit might have sharpened the interactions to a finer point – even for a movie about couples trading partners, it feels like there’s an awful lot of fumbling – but on the whole, A Swingers Weekend is a nice showcase for its cast, and a trickier story than the packaging implies.