Synopsis: Seven years after the fact, a man comes to the realization that he was the sperm donor for his best friend’s boy.
The Switch falls into a group of comedies that Jennifer Aniston did between 2005 and 2011 that all just run into one big mediocre puddle in my brain. In fairness to her she did mix it up with hilarious/sexy results as the nympho dentist in Horrible Bosses. But Aniston is, by and large, a safe pair of rom-com hands.
In that same vein, Jason Bateman is quickly proving that he has one setting; Michael Bluth. He too has a back catalogue that is melting into one long film. Here he even has a cotton white shirt with the sleeves slightly rolled up. And while it is an undoubtedly funny schtick, it is remarkable that he has done that for EVERY role since 2003. Jason Bateman is effectively the Michael Cera of being Jason Bateman. Like Aniston, you know what you’re going to get from him.
So putting them both together in a romantic comedy is, well…… safe. And given the subject matter of sperm donors and surrogate babies it’s arguably played too safe. Aniston and Bateman hardly stretch themselves as well off successful New Yorkers who are best friends and former failed lovers. Bateman still holds a flame for Aniston’s Kassie and is put out when she decides to get a sperm donor to give her a baby and doesn’t ask him. By way of a terrible, but probably all too real, sperm donation party, Bateman’s Wally (apt) gets hammered and switches up the donor sperm with his own. When Kassie leaves and returns 7 years later with a cynical neurotic toddler it starts to dawn on Wally that he might be the father.
The Switch is fine but nothing you haven’t seen a million times elsewhere. There is little chemistry between the two leads and it is a stretch too far to buy them as lovers. Thomas Robinson as the 7 year old Sebastian is, however, great and upstages his screen parents who too often look like they are phoning it in.
Conclusion: Given the sticky subject matter it could have benefited from being a little less sex-ed and a little more American Pie.
Cast: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Patrick Wilson, Juliette Lewis, Jeff Goldblum, Thomas Robinson