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:: Swimfan

John Polson has been a great actor (The Boys) and a forgettable one (Mission Impossible 2) and unfortunately so far, his directing efforts have been largely forgettable. His debut feature, Siam Sunset, made in Australia, was a jumble of attempted quirkiness in a romantic road movie chase film. His follow up, and first American film, Swimfan, sticks to one genre, but does nothing new with it.

Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford from Bring It On) is a reformed druggie who now has a sweeter than pie girlfriend Amy (Shiri Appleby from TV series Roswell) and a burgeoning career as a swimmer, when he makes one little mistake- sleeping with new girl in town Madison (Erica Christiansen). Quicker than you can say ‘rehash of Fatal Attraction to cash in on the big teen movie going market’, Madison is stalking Ben, who’s keen for his life to get back to normal and for his girlfriend never to find out. Everything starts to go wrong for Ben and no one will believe him that it’s Madison who’s really responsible.

Unfortunately, there is not much that is believable about this film. I defy anyone not to see the plot twists coming a mile away, and Madison’s crazy history is left strangely unexplained. Has she done this before? Or has her last boyfriend’s accident set her off? There appear to have been quite a few scenes chopped out of the film, there’s an odd jumpiness to the story, and as the running time is fairly short, even for a teen film, I suspect there may have been more backstory, more plot.

The performances are all average. Christensen, who excelled in Traffic as the drug addicted daughter of Michael Douglas, who coincidentally starred in the Fatal Attraction for grown ups, smirks and stares her way through this film, trying to be evil despite her cuteness. The old-fashioned outfits and high heels don’t help make her any more realistic. The things she does are so over the top and it’s never explained how she manages to do them. She could have been a very interesting character, one every female who’s ever been dumped after a one nightstand, could relate to. Instead she’s just a cardboard cut out.

John Polson started Tropfest, a short film festival in Sydney, which has grown to be one of the biggest short festivals in Australia and has spawned a beast known as the Tropfest Film, short for an over caffeinated audience’s attention span, with a nice gag at the end. There are many things that John Polson has excelled at. Swimfan is not one of them.

Screening on general release