Review: The Switch

The Switch
5 10

PLOT: Kassie (Jennifer Aniston)- a single, career-minded gal decides to get herself pregnant with the help of a studly sperm donor (Patrick Wilson). Her jealous best friend Wally (Jason Bateman) gets drunk, and switches the donor's sperm with his own. After eventually winding up pregnant, Kassie leaves town, only to return seven years later, with a neurotic son who bears an uncanny resemblance to Wally. Meanwhile, Wally begins to bond with his offspring and develop feelings for his long-time best friend, who's now dating the original donor, thinking this is her son's father.

REVIEW: OK, we're officially in the late August dumping grounds, which is traditionally a virtual no-man's land of films that the studios are trying to bury. THE SWITCH is a perfect example of this. As this comes from the formerly prestigious Miramax (and sadly, may in fact be the last film to be released under it's banner), obviously THE SWITCH (originally, and more appropriately titled THE BASTER) was meant to be more than the feature-length sitcom it now resembles.

The film was actually shot well over a year ago, and it's presumably suffered from a bit of post-production tinkering, with several well known character actors like Caroline Dhvernas, and Todd Louiso popping up as virtual extras while being given prominent billing. In this case, that may not be a bad thing, as at a reasonable 100 minutes, THE SWITCH still drags badly, up to the abrupt, and far too neat, conclusion.

That said, THE SWITCH isn't all that bad. It's not as stupid as the trailers or posters (perhaps among the worst ever designed) make it look. Considering that it comes from the guys behind the Will Ferrell/Jon Heder vehicle, BLADES OF GLORY, it's not quite as madcap as you'd think. It's actually something of a dramady, and reminiscent of the types of semi-serious comedy vehicles actors like Michael J. Fox and Michael Keaton used to do in the eighties.

Here, instead of the Michaels, we get Jason Bateman. I like Bateman, but the guy needs better material. He killed on ARRESTED: DEVELOPMENT, and EXTRACT was about 80% good (up to the weak, tacked-on happy ending), but films like THE SWITCH will be the end of him if he's not careful. Here he plays a wacky, neurotic guy, but the problem is, Bateman's not good at being wacky and neurotic. He's a brilliant straight-man, but he comes off as too genuine to be playing the “funny guy”. By the same token, Bateman actually fares quite well in the more serious parts of the film. This is particularly true when he's paired with young Thomas Robinson, who plays his cute son. Their relationship is one of the saving graces of a terribly uneven film, and one wishes that more time had been spent on these two.

Alas, that's not to be when you have a co-star as popular as Jennifer Aniston, who I have mixed feelings about. She was great on FRIENDS, and downright brilliant in THE GOOD GIRL, but I'm not a fan of her rom-coms. While this isn't nearly as painful as THE BOUNTY HUNTER, I still found Aniston to be a little bland, although I suppose she gives a decent, if uninspired performance. You can't really blame her though, THE SWITCH doesn't give her a heck of a lot to do. Despite the billing, she's clearly second banana to Bateman, although the way her character is wrapped up in the conclusion is downright laughable (in a bad way) and clichéd as hell.

However, THE SWITCH does have one ace up it's sleeve, with none other than Jeff Goldblum popping up as Bateman's boss/best friend. Here, Goldblum really gets to be Goldblum (you get the sense that the directors just let him improv, or wing the whole thing), and if you like him at his zaniest and most Goldblum-esque, you might at least get some enjoyment out of THE SWITCH.

While it's not a particularly bad film, THE SWITCH is still a pretty uninspired, sitcom-style piece of fluff. While it's maybe not bad enough for the late-August doldrums, it's nothing anyone really needs to run and check out, unless you're a massive Aniston or Bateman fan. Even still, both have been far better elsewhere, and you'd do better staying home and watching episodes of ARRESTED: DEVELOPMENT, or seeing THE GOOD GIRL again.

RATING: 5/10

Source: JoBlo.com



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