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The Big Swap Review

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Whilst drinking with a group of close friends, couple, Ellen and Jack, let it slip that they occasionally indulge in partner swapping. The friends decide to follow suit, but the personal relationships quickly suffer from an excess of "free love".

★★★★★

A movie that revolves purely around sex is sure to come unstuck eventually and this offering from writer/director/ producer Johnson is a prime example. Its premise - close, sexually liberated pals who hang around in couples and engage in a bit of partner swapping - is an interesting one. But by including five couples, Johnson has taken on too big a canvas. The understandably deep character studies force the plot to secondary status so that even the plethora of sex scenes becomes boring.

After many years of friendship, the wine-swilling bunch of thirtysomething protagonists are only slightly shocked when two of their number, Ellen (Brooks) and Jack (Antony Edridge) let it slip that they regularly partake in partner swapping. Intrigued and excited, the bunch agree they should try it and embark on their first night of passion with another partner. The subsequent scenes make for great viewing as the friends try to get their juices flowing with someone they've only previously kissed on the cheek.

After tasting and enjoying their forbidden fruit, the pals can't wait to pig out again and do so during regular get-togethers. But all this free love begins to take its toll on daily lives and relationships with regular partners.

Individually, each member of the unknown cast is impressive and delivers the deft dialogue with ease. Together, however, they sometimes seem uncomfortable and don't make for a convincing ensemble. In attempting to deliver a slight, soft-porn comedy for the upwardly mobile, Johnson gives all he's got in the first hour and then tries to fashion a concrete conclusion. So even with lots of shagging and some hilariously cringe-making moments, the climax ironically comes much too soon and leaves the viewer feeling frustrated rather than satisfied.

Even with lots of shagging and some hilariously cringe-making moments, the climax ironically comes much too soon and leaves the viewer feeling frustrated rather than satisfied.

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