Friday 24 December 2021

Movie Review: The Switch (2010)

A creaky romantic comedy, The Switch stretches credibility in search of laughs and love. A strong cast is still crushed by overbearing predictability.

In New York City, Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) decides to have a child using a sperm donor. Her best friend Wally (Jason Bateman), a stock analyst who suffers from mild neurosis, tries to talk her out of it, but she persists and selects college professor Roland (Patrick Wilson) as the donor. At the "insemination party" organized by Kassie's best friend Debbie (Juliette Lewis), a drunk and disoriented Wally secretly switches Roland's sperm for his own and recalls nothing about the incident.

Kassie gets pregnant and relocates to Minnesota. Seven years later she returns to New York with her son Sebastian and reconnects with both Wally and Roland. Wally quickly bonds with young Sebastian, who exhibits familiar signs of neurotic behaviour. Wally seeks advice from his boss Leonard (Jeff Goldblum), while Kassie starts a relationship with Roland, still believing he is the father.

With Wally confined to the friend zone but clearly still smitten by Kassie, The Switch telegraphs all the essential plot points within the first ten minutes. Allan Loeb's screenplay then trudges through another 90 minutes to arrive at the pre-ordained ending, suffering through all the predictable beats with precious few sparkling moments. In the hands of co-directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon, the tortured premise hinges on the well-worn malaise of characters failing to have the necessary conversations in fear of resolving all misunderstandings within television sit-com episode length.

The introduction of Sebastian in the second half provides a bit of a boost, and Wally's observations of nascent mannerisms within his offspring provide some father-son warmth independent of genre confines. In contrast, none of the other characters are remotely believable outside the flighty rom-com bubble, and emotions barely rise above good-looking-actors-reading-lines. Jennifer Aniston's Kassie is coldly self-obsessed as a love interest and even less invested as a mother. Jeff Goldblum and Juliette Lewis are wasted side-kick afterthoughts, and Patrick Wilson never stands a chance as the forced third point of a contrived love triangle.

Despite creating the space to delve into the challenges of single motherhood and anxiety within both adults and kids, the narrative lacks the courage for meaningful commentary. The Switch mixes up the donations, but still arrives at a dull place.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

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