A community pool in Connecticut is the setting for this "under the radar" film which is charming, funny, entertaining, and appealing. Although it won prizes in major film festivals, "The Big Bad Swim" was not released to hordes of theaters across America, but was distributed in DVD form, and shown in theaters selectively.
It is unfortunate that "The Big Bad Swim" never had the marketing hype of a Hollywood release, considering how many sinkers Hollywood HAS released this year, such as "I Know Who Killed Me." "The Big Bad Swim," a genuinely good independent film, has had to swim upstream on its own.
Nevertheless, in "The Big Bad Swim," actress Paget Brewster is endearing and believable as Amy, the wired-to-breaking point math teacher who not only is being dumped by her husband but also is about to lose her job, and ends up taking a gamble on a new life. TV soap actor Jeff Branson-- who is HOT-- plays Noah, the earnest, vulnerable swim teacher who goes the extra pool length to help his students overcome their fears, and discovers he can learn from his students. Pretty, sexy Jess Weixler (did I just see her in a bank commercial?) deftly plays Jordan, the swimmer-to-be who works two jobs, one as a pole dancer, the other as a blackjack dealer. Her character provides the catalyst for change amongst the ensemble, but is the least understandable of the characters, because of a lack of a "back story" or motivation as to why she does what she does. Jordan is young enough to still live at home with a ubiquitous, video-camera-toting younger brother who spies on her. However, her parents are not shown to be involved with her life in any way, which seems odd. There's no drunken mother or abusive father here to explain why a normal, attractive girl from a Connecticut suburb would choose to be a self-medicating pole dancer who debases herself for loutish bachelor parties.
Despite this quibble, "The Big Bad Swim" succeeds, in large part, because it is a happy, feel good film.
As one might expect, learning to swim is the metaphor for life. Ultimately it's better to jump in with both feet, and get in the swim, rather than sit on the deck, because life happens to you anyway.
The Big Bad Swim is a great date movie, a great dorm movie, a great "what haven't I seen" movie, and men like it as well as women.