7.1/10
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151 user 39 critic

Swimming with Sharks (1994)

R | | Comedy, Crime | 21 April 1995 (USA)
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A young, naive Hollywood studio assistant finally turns the tables on his incredibly abusive producer boss.

Director:

George Huang

Writer:

George Huang
4 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kevin Spacey ... Buddy Ackerman
Frank Whaley ... Guy
Michelle Forbes ... Dawn Lockard
Benicio Del Toro ... Rex
T.E. Russell ... Foster Kane
Roy Dotrice ... Cyrus Miles
Matthew Flint Matthew Flint ... Manny
Patrick Fischler ... Moe
Jerry Levine ... Jack
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Storyline

A young Hollywood executive becomes the assistant to a big time movie producer who is the worst boss imaginable: abusive, abrasive and cruel. But soon things turn around when the young executive kidnaps his boss and visits all the cruelties back on him. Written by Jason Ihle <jrihl@conncoll.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

In Hollywood all his dreams could come true... But first he has to make coffee. See more »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some scenes of psychological/physical torture and pervasive strong language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

21 April 1995 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Boss See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$376,928
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Directorial debut of George Huang. See more »

Goofs

Guy stays late to bury the article about Buddy in TIME. Buddy calls, telling him to record the Foster Kane interview on TV. Guy picks up the "Real Life" script and writes "Foster Kane" on it. In the shots of Guy writing from the front, he is using a Bic ball-point pen. When there are overhead shots, he is using a Sharpie permanent marker. See more »

Quotes

Buddy: You are nothing! If you were in my toilet I wouldn't bother flushing it. My bathmat means more to me than you!
See more »


Soundtracks

HALF A LIFE
Written by Richard Butler & Tim Butler
Performed by Love Spit Love
Published by Mother-Son, Inc. / Irving Music, Inc. (BMI) /
Fullsafe Music (ASCAP)
Courtesy of the Imago Recording Co.
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Why is this so enjoyable?
1 June 2006 | by Mike KeatingSee all my reviews

Swimming with Sharks sees Guy (Frank Whaley) attempt to "turn the tables" on his abusive boss Buddy (Kevin Spacey), and while this makes the film simple and unoriginal in terms of plot, it is a cut above the rest thanks to the performances of its small cast.

One would assume that we would root for Guy, the innocent graduate demeaned by his aggressive boss, but the way the film tells the story prevents us from empathizing with him (as does his awful haircut); knowing that he tortures Buddy physically for his mental abuse complicates our response, and puts us on Buddy's side, allowing us to enjoy the games Buddy plays with Guy. This is something that's made very easy to do by the acting. Kevin Spacey is typically excellent as Buddy Ackerman and is the most engaging character in the film, remaining funny and manipulative throughout, even while being tortured and held hostage, as well as handling the more serious emotional aspects of his character expertly. Frank Whaley is also brilliant, playing the overwhelmed lapdog who is eventually pushed over the edge by Buddy's abuse. Importantly however, despite his plans for revenge, he remains under Buddy's spell right up until the end, and is eventually broken.

The film's conclusion further complicates our responses to both characters. The hostage situation revelations pull the audience between the impassioned-now-heartless Buddy and the desperate and confused Guy, but ultimately good does not prevail, and the shooting and Buddy's manipulation of the situation remove us from both characters as the film ends.

All in all, Swimming with Sharks is an enjoyable film. The simple plot and small cast are compensated for by some fine performances; it's funny , well-acted, and definitely worth watching.


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