Reviewed by: Daniel Thompson
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|Featuring:||Jennifer Aniston (Kassie Larson), Patrick Wilson (Roland), Jason Bateman (Wally), Juliette Lewis, Jeff Goldblum, Caroline Dhavernas (Pauline), Bryce Robinson (Sebastian, age 9), Todd Louiso (Artie), Thomas Robinson (Sebastian), more »|
|Director:||Josh Gordon, Will Speck|
|Producer:||Bona Fide Productions, Mandate Pictures, Jennifer Aniston, more »|
“The most unexpected comedy ever conceived.”
Sometimes certain movies just seem like a bad idea. You see the poster and hear the plot, and it immediately appears to be a film that should never been made. This is exactly what I thought about “The Switch,” a movie starring Jennifer Aniston about artificial insemination. Just hearing that, you’ve got to believe that the odds are against this movie being of any value. If you believe that, as I did, then you’ll be surprised at what you find in “The Switch.”
Wally (Jason Bateman) and Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) have a very interesting relationship. They dated a couple of times years ago, but now they’re the best of friends. It’s clear that Wally still has feelings for Kassie, but he has kept them to himself, so he won’t ruin their friendship. Kassie is almost forty, and has decided that after years of looking for “the one,” she wants a baby. She decides to be artificially inseminated by Roland (Patrick Wilson), who she met through a rigorous interview process. In spite of pleading from Wally, Kassie follows through with the insemination, becomes pregnant and then moves away.
Little do Kassie or Wally know, but the night of the insemination, Wally got blackout drunk and replaced the “seed” of Roland with his own. Six years later, Kassie returns to New York with son Sebastian, and Wally starts realizing the similarities between himself and the boy. After he remembers and realizes what he’s done, Wally begins the journey of building a relationship with his son, as well as finding a delicate way to tell Kassie the truth.
“The Switch” has all the markings of a generic, bland romantic comedy like “27 Dresses,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” or “The Back Up Plan.” It has a plot that could only take place in the movies, with problems that no real person would have. It has a script that sometimes veers into melodrama, then goes straight into the world of bad sitcoms. It has a crisis that, with a little honesty, could turn a 100 minute movie into a 20 minute feature.
Despite all that it has going against it, “The Switch” still manages to be a sweet, heartwarming, and enjoyable film. Most of the credit goes to the acting on display. Jason Bateman, star of the hilarious “Arrested Development,” lends dry wit and real emotion to his role. Jennifer Aniston is more than serviceable in a role that is tough, because it’s so farfetched. The supporting players are great as well, especially the manic Jeff Goldblum.
With a plot of this nature, it should be no surprise that there are some content issues. The first 35 minutes of the film are filled with sexual humor, mainly when referencing what all is involved in the act of insemination. Along with these sometimes uncomfortable moments, there is a scene set at a Broadway play where a stage actor is completely nude, and we see his bare backside and then again in the faded background.
After the first third of the film, “The Switch” takes an about face, and the last hour is mostly clean. The language isn’t heavy, aside from a couple of profanities, and there’s a great story about the importance of family. It’s one of the most positive, pro-family messages I’ve seen from a Hollywood film in a long time.
“The Switch” is a touching and well-made formula film. It won’t (and shouldn’t) win any awards, but it could’ve been a lot worse, considering some of the other movies of its kind that have come out this year. While it’s more of a drama, than a comedy, it has enough humor to keep it light, while still packing an emotional punch. Somehow, against all odds, “The Switch” works.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Heavy / Sex/Nudity: Heavy
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