Reviewed by: Douglas M. Downs
Starring: Erika Christensen, Jesse Bradford, Shiri Appleby, Dan Hedaya, Clayne Crawford | Directed by: John Polson | Produced by: Joseph M. Caracciolo Jr., Allison Lyon Segan, John Penotti, Joseph Caracciolo | Written by: Philip Schneider, Charles Bohl, Phil Schneider, Charlie Bohl | Distributor: Twentieth Century Fox
Heav’n has no rage like love to hatred turn'd
Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn'd.
This saying is from the closing line of act III of William Congreve’s “The Mourning Bride,” first produced in 1697. It is often misquoted, as “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”
That is the unfortunate theme of the latest in “teen” tragedy films. “Swimfan” takes the level of irresponsible film making to new heights (or should I say—to new lows). The film presents all the negative teen themes in one depressing story, including drug abuse, revenge, infidelity, stalking, obsession, and jealousy. Dr. Ron Corbin, Youth Crime Prevention Specialist for Las Vegas, has said that 54% of assault and murder crimes by young men have been jealousy-related. It’s 42% by young women. The vast majority of unsolved teenage crimes are “acts of unrestrained passion.” You would think that our society has learned lessons from Columbine and other high school campus shootings.
“Swimfan” tells the story of Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford) as a student with a promising future as a swimmer. He has everything going for him—until he has a one-night stand with the seductive Madison Bell (Erika Christensen). In one Biblical way, our would-be hero learns that sin does have consequences. Unfortunately, the consequences are extremely exaggerated. Madison is the new girl in school and wants more from Ben than just a fling. She quickly begins to infiltrate his life. This includes meeting the parents and e-mailing Ben nude reminders of their evening. The use of the Internet to promote adolescent porn is just the tip of my many and stern objections to this movie. My other objections include the language, sexual innuendos, and an unfortunate theme that is in the majority of films being released this fall—drug and alcohol abuse. So do not be fooled by the disguise of suspense and thrills.
While many critics have praised 20th Century Fox for not including gratuitous violence, viewers must be made aware that what is substituted instead is a heavy does of hormone-driven actions. Most Christians and morally conscious people would blush at the innuendo-laden dialogue present in “Swimfan.” You begin to get the very distinct impression that all teens think about is sex and “getting laid.” My 16-year-old son is very active in a youth group of about 90+ teens. I have been around him and his friends several times. They have fun conversing mostly about their friends, school Bible study, the next sporting event, and other such harmless thing. There are countless teens just like them who aren’t focused on sex as the get-all. So why does Hollywood persist in old stereotypes?
Language and violence are present in this film and should not be ignored. Please heed these warnings and skip out on this corporate attempt to further corrupt the innocence of America. I recommend the new video release for “Hometown Legend” as a positive alternative to this loser. And can anyone explain to me how this film possibly received a PG-13 rating when an “R” should have been a given?