Just like its struggling athletic heroine, “Swing Away” develops a case of the yips. This harmless golf comedy offers some genuine laughs in its first half, but it devolves into a clichéd David-versus-Goliath story on the back nine.
After missing a putt, professional American golfer Zoe Papadopoulos (Shannon Elizabeth) has a club-throwing freakout worthy of Happy Gilmore. Suspended from the LPGA, she retreats to her grandparents’ home in Greece for a break.
In their small town, she mentors young prodigy Stella (Viktoria Miller) and shares the game she loves with the village. But their newfound appreciation for the sport is short-lived when money-hungry developer Glenn (John O’Hurley) wants to turn the local course into a luxury resort.
“Swing Away” is at its strongest when it is indulging its dual loves of golf and Greece. Someone may have told screenwriters Paul Robert Lingas and Julia Wall Nickles that their simple story of redemption needed more conflict, but O’Hurley’s cartoonish villain doesn’t add anything to the narrative.
Similarly, a tacked-on romance only serves to distract from the friendship between Zoe and Stella. Directed by Michael Achilles Nickles, the movie can’t maintain a consistent tone, veering from earnestness to silliness like a bad slice.
In English and Greek with English subtitles.
Rated: PG, for language, some drinking and smoking
Running time: 1 hour, 38 minutes
Playing: AMC Burbank Town Center 8