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Film / Swindle

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Swindle is a 2013 made for TV movie by Nickelodeon, released on August 24th. It is an adaptation of a book of the same name by Gordon Korman. The film's main cast is comprised almost entirely of stars from Nickelodeon's recent Live-Action TV block- Noah Crawford and Chris O Neal, Jennette McCurdy, Noah Munck, Ariana Grande, and Ciara Bravo.

The plot follows Griffin "The Brains" Bing (Crawford) acquiring a baseball card worth 1.2 million dollars, but, being unaware of its value, sells it off for cheap. After he and his friend Ben find out about how they were swindled, they are enraged and determined to steal back the card, enlisting a group of their fellow students to help steal the card.

This film contains examples of

  • Air-Vent Passageway: Amanda uses this to get all the way to the basement from the roof.
  • And the Adventure Continues: At the end, the gang decide to use their abilities to stop people from getting swindled.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: In a blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment, Swindell is shown on a business review site to be wanted for forged checks, scamming old ladies, loan sharking, shark loaning and taking candy from a baby.
  • Artistic License Law: Wouldn't charging the Crown Suite to Swindell be fraud?
  • Asshole Victim: Swindell is completely amoral, going so far as to push a nun (Savannah in disguise) in a wheelchair down a hill.
  • Batman Gambit: The entire movie hinged on this. Instead of stealing the card back, Griffin decides on a large, complex one to obtain the card legally, and be able to sell it later.
  • Cake Toppers: The Captain Cybertor toy ends up replacing the groom.
  • Caper Crew: The kids fall into several of these roles.
  • Caper Rationalization: Doubly Subverted. At first the group tries to steal the card back from Swindell, but after realizing that even if they pulled it off, they would never be able to sell it, plot to get him to give it back to them... and their pursuit of this goal is still in a highly illegal manner, but the audience doesn't mind since Swindell well, swindled Ben, who really needs the money.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Darren is strong enough to push a badly parked car into place! Sideways!
  • Closet Geek: Amanda.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Eddie toward Amanda.
  • Everything Is Online: Melissa manages to take control of an elevator.
  • High-School Hustler: Griffin, though he isn't that way in the book.
  • Food Fight: During the wedding scene. Those poor Greek newlyweds...
  • Funny Foreigner: Savannah and Darren's disguise as Swedish children is this.
    Savannah: "We heard it was worth the monies."
    Darren: "Ya, the monies!"
  • Gag Nose: Anton Leferve has one.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Melissa.
  • How We Got Here: The film starts with Griffin and the gang crashing a wedding, and Griffon narrating, before we cut to the actual start of the film.
  • In Medias Res: The movie begins with the food fight at the wedding, with all the main characters going for the action figure. The camera zooms in on Griffin while his voice-over says, "You're probably wondering what's going on." Then it rewinds to the beginning.
  • In Name Only: The plot of the movie is drastically different from that of the book, as are the characters. Logan, the actor, is played by a girl and named Savannah, whose role is removed. Darren is in on it from the beginning, while Melissa, a shy tech geek in the books, bullies her way onto the team during the failed first plan. Melissa is also Retconned as Griffin's sister, while in the book she was part of the separate Dukakis family. The Babe Ruth card is changed to a Honus Wagner card for some reason. And Luthor, the Team Pet in the books whose image is depicted on every cover of each book in the series, is nowhere to be seen.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Darren. Not so much in the book.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Swindell is a world-class dick if ever there was one, but he's correct on two counts: 1) It isn't his fault that Ben and Griffin didn't bother to look up the value of their card, and 2) they did sell the card legally. However, it could be argued that his actions fit the legal definition of "fraud" (conducting deliberate deception for the purpose of material gain), which would contradict his claim that he didn't break any laws.
  • Karma Houdini: The gang breaks into Swindell's shop, steals his hotel reservation, and leaves him on the hook for a thirty-five thousand dollar hotel bill, not to mention coercing him into returning something that he purchased from them legally (if not ethically). Granted, he had it coming, but still, they're never made to actually answer for any of this and they pocket a cool 1.2 million on top of it. They also utterly destroy an unfortunate couple's wedding without consequence, though they do at least have the decency to pay back the couple by footing the bill for their honeymoon.
  • Love Triangle: Ben and Eddie with Amanda. Broken through Amanda expressing disgust at a relationship between her and the latter, and the former getting a Ship Tease with her in the ending.
  • Macguffin: The Honus Wagner card.
  • Meaningful Name: Swindle is a conman.
  • Miserable Massage: One part of the plan to stall and trick Swindle is for him to take a massage, with who he believes is the rich auction owner he's trying to impress. Throughout the scene, he's grunting in pain and keeps getting his neck chopped and pushed.
  • Only in It for the Money: The initial reason why Amanda, Savannah and Darren decided to join Griffin in getting the card back. Nothing else could convince them to join.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Savannah could give Team Rocket a run for their money.
  • Power Walk: At the end with the team. Parodied when Ben slips and throws away his slushie again as he did at the beginning of the movie.
  • Pronouncing My Name for You: Swindle repeatedly corrects people, saying his name is pronounced "Swin-dell", with an emphasis on the E.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Griffin's team created to get the card back.
  • The Reveal: Melissa is actually Griffin's younger sister.
    • Also, Ivan Volkov is Savannah's father.
  • Running Gag: Let's just say Swindell has to spend a lot of time correcting people on his last name.
    "It's Swindell. Accent on the back half."
  • Screenplay Name Change: Antonia "Pitch" Benson to Amanda Benson (hey, at least she kept her last name), Ben Slovak to Ben Dupree, Savannah Drysdale to Savannah Westcott, and S. Wendell Palomino to Paul Swindell. The SmartPick is also renamed the iGotIt.
  • Sequel Hook: In case Nickelodeon decide to make more movies based off of the other books in the series, the film ends in roughly the same way as the book did- the team unites again to stop someone being swindled.
  • Shout-Out: Darren Vader's name is a reference to Darth Vader. The music department missed the opportunity to play "The Imperial March'' when he came on screen.
  • Shown Their Work: The card shown in the film is a T206 Honus Wagner card (or at least a convincing recreation) and it really is as valuable as the film says: The card was produced by the American Tobacco Company in the early 1900s, but Wagner eventually refused to let them continue producing it, so only a small handful were actually made. There are only 57 known copies in existence.
  • Strolling Through the Chaos: Griffin during the wedding scene. He walks calmly through the food fight and comes out with just a small patch of frosting on one shoulder.
  • Spy Catsuit: Amanda wears one while confronting Swindell during the wedding.
  • The Namesake: Dropped by Ben when the gang performs The Reveal on Swindell.
  • You Owe Me: One of the tactics Griffin uses to recruit Amanda, Savannah, and Darren to the team. It doesn't work.