The Switch

| March 18, 2011

The Switch couldn’t be any more simple than one man’s sperm getting exchanged for another. You might say it’s about fatherhood, but then that might be taking this “offbeat” comedy too seriously, as if offbeat is now a genre filled with films intended to be funny but are just that, off beat.
Two best friends Wallie (Jason Bateman) and Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) ‘break-up’ over her decision to get artificially inseminated. Sounds like another birth comedy called The Back-Up Plan with Jennifer Lopez, another winning story of a single woman inseminating herself. Directors Josh Gordon & Will Speck know how to make a woman see her fertility as a coupon yet to expire with or without a partner. While the odds are against women trying to get pregnant after thirty, it’s not impossible. For many women motherhood is a life-fulling step. Since when did insemination become an aging single gal’s last resort?
Jennifer Aniston is about as good a placeholder female lead as Katherine Heigel. Nicole Kidman makes cold emptiness meaningful, but Aniston feels like a black hole of emotions. She’s too dry to be a true comic and too conscious of her awkwardness. Unlike the light absent mindedness of Diane Keaton in her early career, Aniston’s stiff personality feels too banal for romantic comedies.
Unfortunately, Kassie is more of a plot device so we can gawk at how cute Wallie is with his new son. Her pregnancy and the first seven years of her son’s waking life fly by off screen while the audience watches the seasons change from Wallie’s downtown Manhattan high-rise. Out of touch for seven years, Wallie gets the surprise call from Kassie that she’s moving back to the Big Apple and suddenly he is the babysitter who forgot he switched his sperm with mommy’s donor. How’s that for fate?
While the American romantic comedy continues to be relevant in films like Going the Distance, true chemistry is missing in this lukewarm comedy. Placeholder women rarely work unless you’re Marilyn Monroe, and if a star has no glam, she’d better have charisma. It turns out The Switch has nothing to do with gender role reversal, it’s just a cockamamie plot about an adorable father and son constantly interrupted by the parroting surrogate mom.
Cozy up with a DVD or Blu-ray copy on sale now. Blu-ray includes deleted scenes, bloopers, and an alternative ending introduced by the directors.

About the Author:

Filed in: Video and DVD

Comments are closed.