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>> Friday, August 27, 2010

Who hasn’t masturbated to Diane Sawyer before?

Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston set themselves up for everything they ever wanted in The Switch, a new romantic comedy from Blades of Glory (2007) director, Josh Gordon. The story takes place in New York (like so many love stories seem too) and starts when Kassie (Aniston) decides she is going to have a baby and is sick of waiting around for Mr. Right. Fortunately for Kassie, Mr. ‘Right Now’ is a brand of a turkey baster and will do the job.

Kassie instantly goes onto Craig’s List to post a wanted ad for a sperm donor and low behold, as weeks pass (although the movie doesn’t always have a coherent timeline) Kassie ends up with the perfect tall, handsome, charming donor she was looking for – much to the chagrin of her best ‘like a brother’ friend Wally (Bateman). Wally offered Kassie his “ingredients”, but she didn’t take too kindly to the idea of raising a neurotic, emetophobia-driven mini-Wally. I don’t know how much this woman knows about the nature vs. nurture debate, but movies don’t need to be believable, right? Right?....

Wally wines to his best friend Leonard (Jeff Goldblum) about the problem to the point where (like any good friend) he makes jokes out of the situation and stutters and speaks quickly just long enough for us to thinks he’s clever - without giving any real advice I might add. On that (and a completely unrelated) note, why is it, guy business buddy types always get their talking done on a treadmill 53 stories above the Manhattan skyline? But moving on…

Wally heads to a party that Kassie is throwing where the turkey baster deed is to happen, as Kassie doesn’t want that “frozen type” of material. She’s into a more “fresh approach” (Christ, even sperm donations are becoming organic these days) Wally starts to mingle, then drinks, then meets the donor, then drinks some more and eventually finds himself in the same room as the semen Kassie is about to ingest (check your prom dress next time, Kassie). It sits tempting as ever in a cup on a little heater. Of course (and as any guy would do), Wally’s first reaction is to pick the cup up, unscrew the lid and (gulp) play with the stuff. Turns out that leads to tempting the fates and placing the opened container under tap water where, sooner than later, he finds himself with an empty cup. This is where Wally becomes a real “jerk”.

Seven years pass and without anyone aging or changing fashion styles, Wally finds himself with the good news that Kassie (who had moved away shortly after becoming pregnant) is moving back to New York. And good news, she has a son! Could it be? Might it be? Yup. Looks like it’s Wally’s. And wouldn’t you know it, the little bastard (played decently by newcomer Thomas Robinson) is like Wally in every way and may just change Wally’s life and make him more mature. You can see where I’m going with this. Think About a Boy (2002), but not as entertaining.

It seems to me that The Switch tried to channel the spirits that made Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and When Harry Met Sally (1989) a success, and unfortunately it just doesn’t make it - in a tradition more akin to something uninspiring like Made of Honour (2008) . Aniston and Bateman have good chemistry, and although they don’t challenge themselves here as actors, they are pleasant enough to watch – as expected. The strongest bond in this movie comes (surprisingly) from Wally and his son Sebastian (Robinson) - so much to the point where Kassie becomes someone you sorta don’t care about anymore.

Ultimately, I give The Switch a closed door. We’ve definitely seen this stuff a million times before (well, the sperm thing is new), and it’s completely predictable. I saw this movie in the afternoon and that’s probably a good time to take it in if you choose to do so. It’s a pleasant enough little film, but in the end it’s pretty forgettable. This includes cheesy lines of dialogue such as “maybe in the end, the human race…. isn’t such a race after all?”.
*Stills courtesy of Bona Fide Productions


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