Martin Freeman’s career output continues to spiral downwards from The Office with a decline beyond proportions familiar even to the Arctic Monkeys’ fanbase. In Swinging with the Finkels, his already unlikely marriage to Mandy Moore is threatened by the onset of monotony and routine: characteristics which, incidentally, it seems did not present cause for alarm to any of the film’s production team while they were carving this atrocious monument to societal decline in a disused hospital ward beneath the sewers of London town. One of the solutions attempted by the ailing couple is ‘swinging’, a practice by which they briefly swap partners with another married pair, at which point Angus Deayton enters with wife and the projector strains audibly to persevere through Martin Freeman saying ‘Me so horny!’ in an impression, ostensibly, of a horny Chinese woman, while indicating the position of China on a globe. Freeman is not prompted into this perverse comic aside by anyone else, rather he crafts it himself out of thin air. It needs to be seen to be believed.
The film persists in bravely sidelining all representatives of racial and sexual otherness, treating difference with a numbed, safari-park sort of contempt which may be familiar to viewers alive in the early 1900s. But its most distressing element is the reverent sincerity with which it approaches its subject, which neither the script nor the actors have the quality to nourish, in between horrific digressional comic episodes, some of which include a hilariously Caribbean nurse putting a surgical swab in a man’s penis and a hilariously (non-specific) Asian beauty therapist describing her masturbatory practices, the upshot of the latter of which sees (and if you want to know what the future looks like, imagine) Mandy Moore literally firing a cucumber from her vagina into Jerry Stiller’s groin (forever).