The Switch Directed by: Josh Gordon & Will Speck Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jeff Goldblum, Juliette Lewis Running Time: 1 hr 41 mins Rating: PG-13 Release Date: August 20, 2010
PLOT: Kassie (Aniston) is an unmarried woman who decides to get pregnant through in vitro fertilization. Seven years later her friend Wally (Bateman) realizes that he replaced her sperm sample with his own.
WHO'S IT FOR? Do you like your indie comedy with a little mainstream thrown in? Or maybe your mainstream with a good indie vibe? Most importantly, you like Jason Bateman, right? Then see this flick.
EXPECTATIONS: The plot just makes you say "ugh," right? There's no other way around it. So, I have to say my only hope was Bateman being included.
Jason Bateman as Wally Mars: When Bateman smiles, I smile. Yes, he's that infectious. I was worried this movie would end up feeling more like an infection. I was wrong. Thankfully, there's heaping piles of Bateman to go around. Wally is neurotic, which means you must think of Woody Allen, right? I mean, he invented dramatic/comedic neuroses. Wally isn't perfect. He isn't the obvious romantic choice. He has flaws. That's what separates this movie from the typical fare. Plus, Bateman almost always brings the most out of a scene. The perfect example is when he plays drunk. He nails the sleepy eyes, and the next morning is even better when he nonchalantly vomits in a trash bin. Score: 8
Jennifer Aniston as Kassie Larson: I wish I knew nothing of Aniston's personal life. Hell, I don't even know how personal it is. The fact that there's some portion of our society desperate for Aniston dating/motherhood news, and I can't avoid it, and it annoys the hell out of me. Here, it's not her fault, but her character just isn't given the time and energy that Wally is. After all, we never get an idea of her new ABC job that brings her back to New York. We also don't get into her head on why exactly she is considering a relationship with Roland (Patrick Wilson). Then again, there's not much development on why she suddenly has feelings for Wally except for the idea that he's our lead character. I don't blame Aniston as much as I do the writing/direction. Score: 5
Jeff Goldblum as Leonard: Thrice-divorced Leonard is Wally's boss, but because he's played by Goldblum, he's soooo much more. His dialogue ranges from "Ah, oh that's, my god!" to "She wouldn't know good sperm if it slapped her in the face." He makes every moment more enjoyable and it really seems that Goldblum loves being Goldblum. With delivery like this, can you blame him? Score: 8
Thomas Robinson as Sebastian: Wow. This little guy can act. The heavy sighs, the worrisome looks and the adorability (it's a word) factor ... it all works. All you need to know about six-year-old Sebastian is explained by his hobby of collected picture frames. Score: 8
Juliette Lewis as Debbie: Debbie is Kassie's crazy friend. Isn't that exactly the only character that Lewis should play? Score: 6
TALKING: There are some usual romantic comedy moments like Wally and Kassie discussing "sense of humor being important." Beyond that the film does a really good job of making the implausible as believable as possible. Score: 7
SIGHTS: The color on this film isn't glossy and helps prove there is a little indie-heart in this flick. Wally's sweaters might be the most memorable look, though you'll probably look at Diane Sawyer in a new light with her being the motivation behind Wally's "donation." Score: 6
SOUNDS: The musical score is intrusive. The times that it does show up, it gets in the way, trying to be too cutesy and obvious. The songs are I remember the most are both from Eels. "All The Beautiful Things" and "Numbered Days" are good and should be remembered for best original song come Oscar time (I like Eels). Score: 6
BEST SCENE: Wally hangs out with Sebastian. He treats him like an adult even though he's six. It's our treat that this is done.
ENDING: It's a little quick and easy, right? Was a little time (done with another montage) the only thing that was necessary?
QUESTIONS: Why, why, why do films insist on abusing the moments like, "I have something really important to tell you ..." then they get interrupted, and repeat the process three more times. From now on, if you're in a movie, and you have something really important to tell someone. Do it. Right then and there. Or shut up forever.
REWATCHABILITY: It would be an easy second viewing. I'll wait for DVD and watch it with my wife.
It's indie-Bateman vs. Hollywood-Aniston. Who will win? Thankfully, it's Bateman. When Bateman is with Goldblum or the kid, the movie zings along. When he's opposite Aniston, it's hit and miss. Here's the thing, I don't blame Aniston. Sometimes the two have a great rapport and truly do feel like best friends who just missed their moment. Other times, Wally is stuck trying to find the perfect time to tell Kassie that he "hijacked her pregnancy." Speaking of this ... do you think pregnancy parties really exist? If I was from a small town in Iowa, maybe I could believe that big city folks in New York City have pregnancy parties where there's a sample of seed left in the bathroom, ready for a woman to inseminate herself. To me, it plays more like an excuse to make this plot work. Thankfully, Bateman is up to the task. It seems like Aniston is too, but she's just not given the room to be interesting and dynamic like her costar. The Switch surprised me.
FINAL SCORE: 7/10