The Switch

Certainly Artificial

         
 

20 August 2010| No Comments     by Sean Chavel

 

No miracles are evident in The Switch, a by the numbers if not below the numbers look at artificial insemination for a single working woman at age 40 played by Jennifer Aniston. There is the longtime friend played by Jason Bateman who despite being a stock trader doesn’t make it past the second date with women. Juliette Lewis plays the longtime acid-tongued best friend. The actors sluggishly play it down to clichés. Kassie and Wally (Aniston and Bateman) aren’t even clearly established in their first scene of how really close they are, with less tug the heart moments than snap and bite banter that defines what they mean to each other. Jeff Goldblum, as Leonard, the only male friend to Wally, acts manic and neurotic in his attention-hungry first scene. Even the supporting actors, it seems like, reek of desperation.

An insemination party is thrown by Kassie which is attended by all her friends, like those happen all the time. The sperm donor is Roland (Patrick Wilson, an above-par performance for this cinematic litter), a teacher by profession. Roland actually brings his wife to the party, too, although she goes and stands in the corner. After ingesting drugs and shots of booze, Wally spills the sperm cup in the bathroom and decides to substitute it for his own. The next day he does not remember.

Flash forward seven years later after he meets Kassie’s son Sebastian (Thomas Robinson), who has been long absent from his life, and well, he starts to remember according to the laws of screenplay convenience. For attempts at humor, Wally and Sebastian share a lot of similar ticks and neuroses even though the two of them have never met until now. Kassie is a very non-observant mother, and non-observant in general thanks to Aniston’s uninspired, by the numbers performance.

A miracle could have occurred had the lead character gotten the news off his chest in the first scene of his realization. But “The Switch” is one of those misunderstanding plots where the guy takes the entire movie working up the courage and right time to tell the woman he loves that he’s the father. Wally’s time is running out before Kassie knots it up with Roland (who is now single and interested) who offers husbandry. The screenplay, by Allan Loeb, contrives a plentitude of unforeseen bumps that interrupt Wally’s chance to confess. For someone who didn’t see “The Back-Up Plan,” does “The Switch” grade above or below the cliché meter? Somebody enlighten me, please. Well, it’s not a priority of mine to catch up with J.Lo’s comedies, so no loss.

Aniston is no stranger to sitcom-range characters but the surprise is that Bateman is boring for the first-time ever on-screen. He is playing a neurotic, chronic complainer as well as a thoughtless non-father type – in his first dinner date with Kassie and Sebastian he orders duck, which to no surprise the kid doesn’t want to eat. As another contrivance, is it no surprise that Wally the non-father type transforms into a caring and willing father type who decides he wants to settle down, too? If Kassie says no to Wally, does he have a back-up plan other than to make a foolish and ill-timed interruption during Roland’s public proposal? Gee, it’s an uneasy blend of forced poignancy and bad comedy.

101 Minutes. Rated PG-13.

COMEDY / LAME JOKES / MOVIE BOMBS   

Film Cousins: “Look Who’s Talking” (1989); “Friends with Money” (2006); “Knocked Up” (2007); “Baby Mama” (2008).

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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.

 

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