The Switch (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
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The Switch (2010)

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Andrew DISLIKEJason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston are two performers that make consistently terrible choices with their careers.  Given the similar trajectory that they've had (initial movie success, slump, prime time comeback, career high movies then aiming low) it's a wonder that they haven't starred in a film together until now.  That wonder is this charmless, ideologically horrific mess of love and mistaken sperm identity that is The Switch.

The Switch is, at least in theory, a romantic-comedy about two long-time friends Kassie (Aniston) and Wally (Bateman).  They decided a long time ago to remain friends while complaining about one another like any old married couple would.  This doesn't lead to any romantic sparks mind you, just a lot of complaining, which is a real treat to endure for an hour and a half.

Kassie wants to get pregnant, has been charting the healthiness of her cervical lining and decides that now is the time to find a donor.  Wally is horrified but pretends to be supportive in the hopes of keeping up his almost kind of friend zone maybe we'll hug relationship going.  So she decides to throw a donation party for the lucky man who she settles on as her donor, the irresistibly handsome Ronald (a poorly utilized Patrick Wilson).

Ah yes, there's the charm.

In a drunken fit Wally accidentally knocks over the sample (why she kept it in her bathroom I, sadly, am not equipped to answer).  Wally replaces it with his own and then, after apparently not talking for six years, she comes back with a kid just as neurotic and obsessed with health as he is.  So Wally struggles with himself to decide whether to tell Kassie the truth, or just be the surrogate father that he will most likely not get to be if he tells her.

I was flitting about with boredom and the occasional grin during the first thirty minutes of The Switch until the actual switch occurs.  I was blissfully unaware of this plot point and would like to note that the moral fabric of this film is completely null and void by this decision.  This is like a rape justification blown to feature length and using the most unlikely substitution for that singularly evil act.  The Switch tries to alleviate some of Wally's guilt by having him be completely drunk but  "I was drunk" doesn't work there and it doesn't work in this strained flick.

The only partial saving grace comes from the Rom-Com Scriptwriter's Manual.  Both Kassie and Wally have best friends (see: Manual) played by Jeff Goldblum and Juliette Lewis.  Lewis doesn't really get a chance to do much other than berate Bateman's character for his neurosis, but Goldblum at least seems to be trying to wring some enjoyment out of this.  It doesn't hurt that he's playing a character that seems to be two steps ahead of everyone else and one step away from completely shattering the fourth wall.

Similarly charmless, upset over spilled Semen, and angry that the Arrested Development movie is never going to be made.

In any other hands The Switch might be incompetent but in the hands of directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck it's a train-wreck.  Neither one of them could rouse Aniston or Bateman beyond the realms of "mild irritation" in their performances and have the sexual chemistry of two lawn chairs folded together.  Granted, their relationship isn't built on years of pent-up sexual tension but for Chirssakes, at least pretend to be attracted to one another in some way.  By the time the proposals are flying at the end of the movie (some accepted, some declined) I was rolling my eyes at the idea that any of these people would end up together.

It's no surprise that it took almost an extra year and an extended session of reshoots to shape The Switch into something the studios would release.  In more talented hands it could have been a bizarro-land dark comic take on Jerry Maguire.  Instead it just celebrates getting a woman pregnant with someone else's child.  At least Jennifer Aniston isn't alone on the pity train now.

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The Switch (2010)

Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck.
Screenplay by Allan Loeb.
Starring Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston.

Posted by Andrew

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