Starring Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Jeff Goldblum, Patrick Wilson, Juliette Lewis and Thomas Robinson. Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck. 100 minutes. 14A
Rom-coms are very predictable; that’s just the way they are – especially the mainstream ones headlined by big names, which should be a clear reason to avoid seeing The Switch. If it weren’t for the guilty pleasure factor, not to mention directed by the same guys who did Blades of Glory, starring Jason Bateman, and, best of all, based on a short story by The Virgin Suicides author Jeffrey Eugenides. Actually, for those reasons, this film should be awesome, shouldn’t it?
Forty-year-old Kassie Larson (Jennifer Aniston) realizes if she doesn’t have a baby now, she may never, and seeing as she isn’t in a long-term relationship, she decides to seek the help of a donor against the advice of her neurotic best bud Wally Mars (Bateman). Though maybe the reason Wally’s so against it is because she doesn’t want his little swimmers, she wants Roland’s (Patrick Wilson), a man she’s never met who needs to money to support his own family. But on the night of her insemination party (yeah, that’s right), after Roland’s left his “ingredient” in Kassie’s bathroom, a drunk Wally steps in to find it and accidentally wash it down the drain, however that happens, and in his drunkenness, finds an easily accessible replacement for the “ingredient.” When he wakes up, the previous night is a blank, until seven years later, when he meets Sebastian (Thomas Robinson), Kassie’s cute, but neurotic, son.
The Switch follows on the same “I can have a baby without a man” strain as The Back-up Plan, though both backtrack on this feminist idea, saying rather “Yes, I can technically have a baby without a man, but in truth, I will always need a man.” It’s pretty sad though it would be uncharacteristic of the genre any other way. A woman who chooses to live without the man could only be the woman of a drama or rom-com flop.
Though what makes this film watchable is Bateman and Robinson. Robinson is so perfectly cast as Wally’s mini-me and the two make such a believable, offbeat pair. Wally is not your typical beefcake. He’s nerdy, awkward and a realist. He is the anti-Matthew McConaughey of romantic comedies (though McConaughey’s a pro of the genre in his own right). Then, Sebastian is the tyke-sized version, who collects picture frames and has hypochondria.
However, while this film is more watchable than most rom-coms, it’s also a letdown. Blades of Glory was hilarious, though this film falls miles behind that mark in the humour department. And I never would have guessed that a film based work by the author who wrote my favourite book ever could be so banal. I guess that’s what happens when you search for reasons to look forward to a rom-com. B-