USA, 2002. Rated PG-13. 85 minutes.

Cast: Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen, Shiri Appleby, Kate Burton, Clayne Crawford, Jason Ritter, Kia Goodwin, Dan Hedaya
Writers: Charles F. Bohl & Phillip Schneider
Music: John Debney & Louis Febre
Cinematographer: Giles Nuttgens
Producers: Joseph M. Caracciolo Jr., John Penotti, Allison Lyon Segan
Director: John Polson


Grade: D+ Review by Claudia Smurthwaite

B lame it on an addiction to chlorine, a previous life as a water sprite or maybe a fatal attraction to water-themed films, but I dive into the theater whenever a movie featuring anything related to swimming is released. Not one to swim against the tide, that's how this swim fan found herself watching the new teen thriller Swimfan, a movie shallower than a wading pool. Swimfan drifts into Fatal Attraction territory, from the seemingly faithful, yet easily duped hero to the blonde, curly-haired psycho bitch. Ah yes, life between the lanes, it's a splash!

Dan, I mean Ben (Jesse Bradford), has it all--a loving girlfriend, supportive mother, and scouts from Stanford about to offer him a swimming scholarship. Enter Alex...er, Madison (Erika Christensen). As she steps foot into her new high school, there is no mistaking that this girl is trouble with a capital T. Ben helps the new girl open her locker, and her fatal attraction is born. Jesse Bradford and Erika ChristensenBen befriends Madison, which leads to burgers and a late night tryst at the campus swimming pool. So much for good, steadfast Ben's honor. As with any good, or in this case, bad stalker movie, he instantly regrets having sex with her, and she now believes he loves her and only her. Let the games begin.

Madison is one determined, not to mention strong girl--beware the Louisville Slugger. As the body count rises, it's hinted that Ben might not be Madison's first victim, but we never learn for sure. Christensen, who won raves as Michael Douglas's daughter in Traffic, is not so subtle here. From the evil glint in her eye to the character's wardrobe--what high school girl wears pinstripe suits and pumps to school?--one look screams psycho.

Swim Ben, swim far and fast!

There are a few chuckles (unintentional, I imagine), no boiled bunnies, and though I kept waiting for Madison to utter "I will not be ignored, Ben!" she thankfully did not. I don't think Swimfan will have the same "I'm never cheating!" effect on high school boys as its older, more mature predecessor did on men.

In a part that a couple of years ago would have gone to Freddie Prinze, Jr., Bradford is serviceable as Ben. He's cute enough and looks decent in a Speedo, not an easy feat. However, as a former collegiate swimmer whose team was soundly beaten by Stanford on several occasions, I just have to say, swimming is hard to fake--NCAA Division I caliber, even harder. There is no way that any of those boys would be considered for scholarships to Stanford. So, jump into Swimfan at your own risk--there is no lifeguard on duty.

Review © September 2002 by AboutFilm.Com and the author.
Images 2002 Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved.

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