Film Review: The Switch

There has been much emphasis on The Switch being a ‘Jennifer Aniston movie’, but in reality this is not the case. It is interesting to consider if it would make any difference to box office results if this fact was more widespread. As it stands, The Switch is a movie that features Jennifer Aniston, but the focus is predominantly on Jason Bateman.

Wally Mars is skeptical when his best friend Cassie Larson tells him she wishes to have a baby by herself. After a drunken mishap, Wally is far more involved than originally planned, unbeknownst to Cassie…

Perhaps what is most interesting about The Switch is that it takes the unusual step of being a romantic comedy taken from the viewpoint of a male character. Although the romantic element is really between the two main characters, it is Wally’s inner turmoil that we see, rather than Cassie’s. Wally is undoubtedly the protagonist; he narrates the film and the focus is almost entirely on him. Inevitably, it is Wally we want to see have the obligatory happy ending.

The film was originally entitled ‘The Baster’. Filmmakers were wise to alter the title, as it moves the film away from the crass connotations of the original name. The film isn’t a crude comedy; there is plenty of more poignant moments along with some laughs. Furthermore, changing the title to The Switch reiterates the emphasis on the male rather than the female character.

The Switch offers a number of humorous incidents, but these are rarely of the laugh-out-loud calibre. The film is more effective when it concentrates on the drama. There are some cheesy moments, but these seem a prerequisite in the rom-com oeuvre. The more serious scenes, however, are at times touching.

Jason Bateman gives an excellent performance as Wally. He generates a sense of believability that really carries the film. Wally’s flaws (his neuroticism, lack of self-confidence and assertiveness) make him a relatable character, more so than the others featured in the movie. The Switch illustrates that Jennifer Aniston, Juliette Lewis and Jeff Goldblum each appear to play very similar characters in most of their performances. As Cassie, Jennifer Aniston gives us the type of character we have seen numerous times before from her. Lewis does her kooky friend schtick, whilst Goldblum does the obligatory laid-back guy who talks fast thing so associated with his persona. A stretch for none of them, then.

Although the plot is thin, Jason Bateman elevates The Switch to a much more watchable level. It is not a brilliant film, but neither is it a bad one.

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