In London, Ellie and Alvin have been married nine years and are bored. Things could be worse, though. Their friends Peter and Janet have two kids and their sex life is nearly non-existent. His sex life is another matter, but that's another issue we'll deal with later.
Co-workers of both Ellie and Alvin make suggestions about what to do to spice up the marriage. Ellie seems to be a fashion designer (very nice logo) and Alvin works with blueprints (probably an architect). One idea is swapping with another couple, which leads to some laughs. Ellie puts an ad on a web site. We meet some of the more colorful couples who are being considered (and stay around for the credits, because some of the funniest and naughtiest material from them is still to come). One couple is selected, and things go pretty well at first. Once a couple is selected, the process all seems perfectly innocent and not dirty at all. But ultimately the plan is not successful, and the rest of the movie is about whether Ellie and Alvin will even stay together, as well as the breakup of Peter and Janet's marriage over his cheating. By the end of the movie, there is hope for at least one and possibly both of the couples.
I hesitate to call this a straight comedy but there are plenty of laughs. It's just that on my TiVo this was identified only as "romance, comedy". It is my opinion that mainly in the second half, this becomes more of a "comedy-drama". But it is entertaining and intelligent nevertheless. It's not constant laugh out loud zaniness.
Mandy Moore is not beautiful but attractive and likeable, and certainly smart and capable of speaking her mind.
Jerry Stiller stands out in a few scenes as Ellie's grandfather. He is a nearly perfect grumpy old man but seems happy with his longtime wife. I don't know who Beverley Klein is but she seems likeable enough. Both are presented with a nasty surprise when they make a surprise visit.
Melissa George does a great job too. Not the most likeable character, but she effectively shows us frustration. I will say this. Janet is not that pretty during most of the movie but she is just plain hot, with gorgeous hair and gorgeous everything else. toward movie's end.
I don't remember his name, but Ellie's gay co-worker also stands out.
Another standout actor does nails and is Asian. I don't remember her name, and she did have only two lines (in different scenes), but she made the most of them. Elizabeth Tan is listed in the credits as "pedicurist", so that must be her
What I really liked about this movie was the music. There are a couple of classical works, but most of the music is jazz, and the good kind of jazz. Not smooth jazz, and not the intellectual, depressing Miles Davis type of jazz either. Fun music that makes me think of Ed Sullivan. And of course the pleasant background music so many movies have. There are also a couple of vocal "standards", really nice music that mature people enjoyed in the 60s while the kids were shocking their parents by blasting this evil rock and roll. One of those accompanies one of the most enjoyable sequences, with flashbacks of Ellie and Alvin meeting in college and the early stages of their relationship, followed by Ellie looking at wedding pictures.
And there is also "music" that reminds me of the green truck that wakes me on Thursdays. In the bar when Ellie's co-worker and his husband (he's quite a character too) explain "swinging", and Ellie's fashion show. Other than the music, that's pretty impressive, and the "music" is appropriate, I guess. Another scene has Peter playing a video game with heavy metal.
Is this family friendly? Given the subject matter, do you even have to ask? Especially when the couples are being interviewed. Once the one couple is selected, it's done quite tastefully, but overall, so many words had to be bleeped for broadcast TV that some scenes make no sense at all.
Overall, it's a pretty enjoyable experience.
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