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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > The Switch

MOVIE REVIEWS

THE SWITCH (2010)

Starring Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, Juliette Lewis, Thomas Robinson, Caroline Dhavernas, Kelli Barrett, Scott Elrod, Victor Pagan, Edward James Hyland and Todd Louiso.

Screenplay by Allan Loeb.

Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck.

Distributed by Miramax Pictures.  101 minutes.  Rated PG-13.

 

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The Switch

In the last several months I have seen two sperm-donor romantic comedies Ė which is about two too many.  However, in fairness, The Switch is certainly a better movie than The Back-Up Plan. 

Of course, thatís hardly tough competition. 

Actually, come to think of it, there have been three sperm-donor movies if you count The Kids Are All Right - though it would be quite unfair to compare these other two shallow romantic comedies to that much funnier and more dramatic family tale.

The Switch is not all that good a movie in general.  Itís just another cheesy romantic comedy Ė better than some, worse than others, but youíve seen it all before.

In fact, you've probably seen it before with Jennifer Aniston.

Okay, this is the first film that Jen has co-starred with a specimen bottle, I suppose, but without that high concept you would be hard pressed to tell The Switch apart from Picture Perfect, The Object of My Affection, Love Happens, She's the One, Along Came Polly, Management, 'Til There Was You or even Office Space and The Bounty Hunter. 

To wit: funny, but slightly uptight guy meets beautiful, kooky and carefree woman with a Rachel hairdo.  He falls in love with her but can't admit it - even to himself.  He gets himself deep into the friend zone and watches sadly from afar while she dates someone else, until he finally finds the cojones to profess his true love - and finds the kind of true, blissful happiness that can apparently only come from the approving, loving gaze of Jennifer Aniston.

Each of the films has its little quirks, but essentially it's all a formula.  The Aniston principle.

On the plus side, The Switch has one of the best leading men in an Aniston vehicle.  Jason Bateman gives this character a smart and melancholy charm and a genuine sense of desperation.  Since his career resurrection with Arrested Development, Bateman has taken a few too many roles in underwhelming films (The Ex, Mr. Margorium's Wonder Emporium, Extract) but he always brings something interesting and new to his characters.  He's even funny here... well kind of funny... when he is drunkenly dropping someone else's specimen cup down a sink.

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.  How did we get to a specimen cup anyway?  (Well, I'm still not sure I can answer that, but I'll try!)

Aniston is Kassie: a gorgeous and successful New York (by way of Minnesota) exec who has a great life, a wonderful job, a stunning apartment (can't anyone in a New York film ever live in a cramped studio apartment like most people in the city do?), a community of friends and a sweet and caring platonic pal (that is Bateman's Wally).  The only thing she can not seem to find is true love.  And she is in her 30s and the biological clock is ticking.  Therefore, Kassie decides to bypass the guy and go it solo.

Of course, biologically speaking, that can be kind of hard.  Not raising a child alone, but there has to be a man to contribute the... umm... seed.

Therefore Kassie goes to a sperm bank - somewhat offending Wally who apparently would have liked to have been asked even though he has no interest whatsoever in having a child.  Therefore, Kassie has a huge party in which she gets the sperm donation by a well-meaning, married donor (Patrick Wilson.)

I know what you're thinking.  I am too.  A sperm party?  Yuck.  Those crazy New Yorkers will have a party for anything.

Of course, it would seem - and I will be the first to admit that I am far from an expert in this field - but it would seem that the transference of a specimen cup meant for artificial insemination would take place in a sterile clinic, not at a crowded party.

Then again, had it been done at a clinic as you would expect, then the big "plot twist" would be impossible.  I put plot twist in quotes because the point has been relentlessly outed in film trailers and even the poster.

We would never be alone in a bathroom with a black-out drunk man and that specimen cup.  (Because, you know, drinking until you can't remember what you did for several hours is funny, right?  Umm, no.)  However, somehow Wally spills the specimen and then in a panic makes his own deposit.

Can you say wacky complications?

Wally forgets his alcohol fueled peccadillo, Kassie moves home to raise her son and suddenly we are eight years later.  Wally is in the same place in his world when unexpectedly Kassie moves back, with her smart and melancholy son.  Why does this kid seem so familiar?

If you have seen even one Jennifer Aniston film - or one romantic comedy in general, for that matter - you know full well what happens. 

Then again, if you wanted to be surprised, you wouldn't be going to a Jennifer Aniston movie in the first place.

Dave Strohler

Copyright ©2010 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: September 16, 2010.

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Copyright ©2010  PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: September 16, 2010.

 

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