Monday, June 25, 2012

The Switch

Directed by Josh Gordon, Will Speck.
2010. Rated PG-13, 101 minutes.
Jennifer Aniston
Jason Bateman
Patrick Wilson
Juliette Lewis
Jeff Goldblum
Thomas Robinson
Bryce Robinson
Todd Louiso
Kelli Barrett

Wally (Bateman) is a really nice guy. He’s a bit on the neurotic side, but a nice guy nonetheless. He’s also in love with Kassie (Aniston). They’ve tried dating once, but found they were more suited to a platonic relationship. At least she thinks so. They have been bestest buddies ever since. Unfortunately for him, he can’t seem to fight his way out of the friend zone. Suddenly, he’s in luck. SPOILER ALERT! Since he is the nice guy and this is a Jennifer Aniston rom-com, it’s inevitable that they’ll wind up together. It’s the how that provides us with a movie.

Kassie is really listening to the ticking of her biological clock. She’s not interested in getting married or even seriously dating anyone, for that matter. Still, she wants to have a baby. She logically decides to get artificially inseminated. In rapid fashion, she turns down Wally’s offer to be her donor and finds Roland (Wilson), a handsome dim bulb to do the same. So far, so good. However, here is where the plot gets completely contrived. At the behest of Debbie (Lewis), her other best friend, she throws an “insemination party.” Uh…no, this doesn’t involve Kassie in anything even remotely sexual so don’t get your hopes up. It’s a mostly regular party with two major differences. The first is that at some point there is a big announcement to let all the revelers know that Roland is off to the restroom to make it with a dirty magazine and a cup. Second, another announcement. This one will kick everyone out so that Kassie can have some privacy while performing the insemination herself. Huh? Who does this? Is there even a doctor present? Yup, we see him sitting on the sofa smoking a joint. Lovely.

Between the two announcements, a very drunk Wally heads to the bathroom to use it for its intended purpose. Of course, he finds himself alone with Roland’s donation. One thing leads to another and he winds up switching out Roland’s sample for one of his own, unbeknownst to anyone else. Ewww. Again, who does this? Needless to say, Kassie gets pregnant and moves far away to raise the baby in a safer place than New York City. Fast forward seven years and she moves back to the city with her son Sebastian (both Robinsons) in tow, who is obviously just like Wally. Our seed-switching hero agonizing over how to tell Kassie what he’s done and that he loves her ensues.

For a romantic comedy, The Switch is remarkably light on both elements. In place of romance, we get the aforementioned agonizing. We also get lots of bonding between Wally and his illegitimate son. Comedy is generally supplied by Debbie’s usually unfunny putdowns of Wally. Occasionally, we do get some real humor through a wonderful but underused Jeff Goldblum as Leonard, Wally’s boss. Aside from the ickiness of the actual switch, the movie moseys along plowing through genre clich├ęs and banks on our inherent soft spot for the two stars. By that, I mean it hopes we have one for Bateman, it just knows we have one for Aniston. If you’re in the demographic they’re aiming at, have at it. If not, follow Wally’s lead and switch this out for a different specimen.

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