Published Aug 19, 2010About a third of the way into The Switch, Wally Mars (Jason Bateman) gets smashed at best friend/secret love interest Kassie Larson's (Jennifer Aniston) insemination party — a peculiar shindig at best, put on by an exposition spewing, incidental friend, in the form of a kooky Juliette Lewis. Disappointed that his gal pal chose the sperm of Patrick Wilson over his, he makes a rash drunken decision and "switches" the donor seed with his supposedly genetically idiosyncratic tadpoles.
Now, this scene was inevitable, being the very premise and hook of this oddly male-centred romantic comedy. But what wasn't so much inevitable was the extended scene of Bateman sniffing and playing with the ejaculate before dumping it down a bathroom sink. I've been inebriated before and I can honestly say that if Patrick Wilson's sperm were sitting in a container nearby, the last thing I would do is fondle and make goofy faces at it.
This is the major issue with this modest summer comedy: it has the potential to be a tad bit smarter than it is, presenting a protagonist that struggles to connect because of his neuroses and introspection. Instead, it goes for the broadest of sitcom conventions, quashing every borderline inspired moment of humanity with unrealistic actions and unreasonable contrivances.
That's not to say The Switch is a bad movie by any means, as it's far better than The Bounty Hunter or the similarly themed J-Lo piece of trash The Back-Up Plan. It is just that it plays it safe at every possible turn, making the experience of watching it instantly forgettable.
That said, Bateman does invest himself fully in a role that demands he behave in a less than admirable light, while Aniston pulls off resigned and self-sustaining impressively. Both of them are very much aware of the bittersweet, defeatist template of the film they're in; it's just a shame that the directors didn't quite catch up with them. (Maple)