Cut from the same crowd-coddling cloth as “The Full Monty,” Oliver Parker’s “Swimming with Men” is a lazily formulaic male-bonding comedy about a group of British blokes-turned-synchronized swimmers that feels like it has arrived about 20 years past its prime.
Meet Eric (Rob Brydon), a dour, self-pitying accountant in full mid-life crisis mode whose preferred method of de-stressing involves sitting on the bottom of his local indoor pool.
One day, while assuming said position, he meets a group of guys of various ages (Rupert Graves and Adeel Akhtar among them) struggling to perform a smooth rotation, and in return for his providing pivot pointers, Eric’s invited to join their synchro swim team just in time to compete in the World Championships in Milan.
You don’t need a pair of diving goggles to see where all this is going.
Based on the 2010 documentary, “Men Who Swim,” which followed a group of Swedish middle-aged male competitive synchronized swimmers, the production assumes the mere sight of pasty, pudgy dad bods attempting to pull off a “Wilting Flower” will throw audiences into convulsions.
Given character development residing strictly in the shallow end and sample dialogue such as, “What goes in the pool, stays in the pool,” is it possible to expect anything beyond the experience making Eric into a better man, husband and father?
Don’t hold your breath.
‘Swimming with Men’
Running time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Playing: Starts Friday, Arena Cinelounge, Hollywood: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica