But just because she plays it safe, that’s not to say “The Switch” is a disappointment. It’s not.
Written by Allan Loeb ( “21” in 2008) and co-directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck, who also co-directed “Blades of Glory” in 2007, “The Switch” has all the proper ingredients for a film of its genre. It’s a story that has been told dozens of times before in one form or another, but it can not be completely dismissed because of that.
This is much better than “The Back-Up Plan” with Jennifer Lopez that addresses the same theme.
Films like this all depend on the leads, and here they are good.
Aniston is the lovely leading lady, who radiates beauty and charm in every scene and opposite her is a quirky leading man, in a role one might not expect for him.
Jason Bateman is very good as the neurotic “best friend,” Wally. He and Aniston’s character, Kassie, have been friends for several years, even after a disastrous attempt at a real relationship.
Wally is on a constant downer, which is exactly the opposite of Kassie’s sunny disposition. But their relationship works as it is, and Bateman is able to make the shlub actually endearing.
Things change when Kassie decides to hire a donor so she can get pregnant and raise a child on her own. Patrick Wilson plays Roland, the perfect male that Kassie hires.
At a party to celebrate the insemination, thrown by Kassie’s friend, Debiet (a role wasting the talents of Juliette Lewis), Wally gets drunk and messes with the specimen.
Jump seven years to see Kassie and Wally reunite as she brings her son, Sebastian, back to New York City after living in the Midwest.
To have a movie like this work, there needs to be a really cute kid who can actually hold the screen with the big stars. Thomas Robinson as Sebastian does just that. He is adorable as he emulates the characteristics of Wally.
By now everyone in the theater knows exactly what is going to happen throughout the rest of the film, but the cast is able to carry it off well.
Roland re-connects with Kassie when she returns, which adds a little drama to Wally’s situation. Wilson is good as the easy-going Roland.
Jeff Goldblum is very good as Wally’s friend and his boss Leonard. Goldblum is not asked to do much besides offer Wally some sage advice, but he is quite funny delivering that advice.
“The Switch” is based on a short story “Baster” by Jeffrey Eugenides, written in 2000. Eugenides is well known for his two novels, “The Virgin Suicides” in 1993 and his Pulitzer Prize winning novel “Middlesex” in 2002.
So, with strong source material “The Switch” is able to be entertaining enough with its charming performances.
Bateman and Aniston have wonderful chemistry together, which makes the film a little better.
The film has more of a situation comedy feel to it than a movie vibe, but that is okay.
“The Switch” is not going to win any awards or set the box office on fire, but it is a sweet film that will make you feel good on the way out of the theater.