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Swimfan
Buy the DVD  Barnes & Noble.com
Genre:Drama
Year:2002
Rating:PG13
Length:1h 25mins
Cast:John Polson, Jesse Bradford, Erika Christensen, Shiri Appleby

Using the premise of Fatal Attraction for a teen movie was bound to happen sooner or later, and that the film turned out so well is a tribute to director John Polson and his screenwriters, Charles Bohl and Phillip Schneider. Swimfan is blatantly exploitive, but it's also elaborately plotted, quite well acted, and genuinely suspenseful. Varsity swim-team member Ben Cronin (Jesse Bradford) is an extremely popular student, especially with cute coeds like his sweetheart, Amy (Shiri Appleby). New girl Madison Bell (Erika Christensen), a saucy temptress with a questionable past, sets her sights on Ben and even manages to seduce him before ultimately being rejected. Her acts of vengeance -- you know what they say about scorned women -- become progressively nastier and potentially lethal. Polson stages these events with conviction, and Madison's gradual unhinging becomes palpable. That's due in large measure to Christensen, whose carefully modulated performance is chillingly convincing. Bradford, who was a likable and intelligent male lead in Bring It On, resists the temptation to make his athlete just another dumb jock, and in so doing makes Ben a more compelling character. Swimfan tiptoes up to the line that separates legitimate melodrama from cornball campiness but never quite crosses it -- which makes the picture entertaining and keeps it from becoming laughable. In addition to a "making of" documentary titled "The Girlfriend from Hell," the DVD edition includes a feature-length commentary by Polson, who also introduces ten deleted scenes. Ed Hulse

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