THE SWITCH is not half as bad as I thought it would be. From the marketing campaign, I'd written it off as one of those Hollywood romantic-comedies featuring an actress too old to really be playing the ditzy chick, given a new shot at features with plots featuring getting knocked up. (Think J-Lo in THE BACK-UP PLAN). Worse still, having been bitten too often by risible, banal Jennifer Aniston rom-coms - distracted by her botox and repelled by the smell of desperation coming off the screen - I was simply in no mood for it. But I have to say that, basically thanks to a rather restrained performance by Jason Bateman, I rather liked it!
Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck (BLADES OF GLORY) the movie starts off as a crude frat-boy gross-out comedy but morphs into something altogether more thoughtful. The opening scenes take us through the mechanics of the set-up with a sort of knockabout humour that entirely failed to connect with me. Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) has a party to celebrate getting artificially inseminated by hunky Roland (Patrick Wilson). Her best friend Wally (Jason Bateman) thinks she's making a mistake, gets drunk, accidentally knocks over Roland's semen and replaces it with his own. Years later, Kassie moves back to the city with her little kid - an introspective odd-ball, and as Wally and Kassie tentatively rekindle their friendship, he starts to realise that he's the kids father. We then get what is actually some rather touching character-driven drama as Wally opens up about his own childhood to the kid, and breaks Kassie and Roland up.
There's a lot of mono-dimensional character-writing in the film, to be sure. Poor Patrick Wilson has little to do except be buff - Juliette Lewis' balls-out craziness is entirely unused - and Jeff Goldblum is the cliché promiscuous but basically lonely older sleazebag. But somehow, underneath all that, we get Jason Bateman's character really baring his soul. And yes, I think on balance, watching this film is probably worth it for Bateman.
THE SWITCH was released in Autumn 2010 and is now available to rent and own.
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