The Switch, on the other hand, is completely the opposite. It’s not perfect, it has a silly premise but once it gets going it becomes one of the best offbeat comedies you likely to see all year.
The Switch stars Jason Bateman as neurotic Wally and Jennifer Aniston as his broody best friend Kassie. Having a long time secret crush, and upon hearing of Kassie’s plan to conceive via sperm donated from the loins of Roland (played by Patrick Wilson), Wally, in a heavily drunken state, secretly swaps Roland’s semen for some of his own and forgets it ever happened! Seven years later after the pair went their separate ways, Kassie returns to New York with her neurotic six year son Sebastian (Thomas Robinson) and the realisation of the switch he made dawns on Wally as his relationship grows with his Sebastian.
The trailer tends to hint that the movie is a slapstick, gross-out humour film but you will find it has a lot more to it than that. The scene of the “switch” was as close as it came to slapstick and the story chose to focus more on the relationship of Wally and Sebastian with some hilarious conversations and visual comparisons and observations between the two and it’s the sort of humour that works for me unlike the soppy, cheap crap that littered the likes of Leap Year and The Back-Up Plan.
The best thing about The Switch is Jason Bateman. For me he is easily the funniest comedy actor currently on screen and his comic timing and delivery makes this film work. Whether it’s his sharp witted responses or clever puns, he completely owns the film. Cast any other actor in his role and the film wouldn’t work anywhere near as well. Add to this the excellent turn from the young actor Thomas Robinson who provides an endearing performance and a brilliant mimic of Wally’s personality that encourages you to believe in their father son bond. And it’s this relationship between Wally and Sebastian that turns out to be the soul of the film and gives the emotional impact required when the heart strings are pulled towards the end as well as offering many laughs as the pair share hypochondriac stories and neurotic behaviours.
Jennifer Aniston puts in a more likable performance than I’ve seen in many of her recent films. Her role is basically the love interest for long time friend Wally and Roland the sperm donor and she plays it convincingly enough with the chemistry between her and Bateman working on screen nicely. The other supporting cast provide enough laughs to make their roles worthwhile with Jeff Goldblum as Leonard, the good friend of Wally who offers him guidance and some brilliant lines. Juliette Lewis plays Debbie, the friend of Kassie, gives plenty of laughs throughout and finally Patrick Wilson (Nite Owl II from Watchmen) plays it with a decent humorous level of smugness.
Directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck (Blades of Glory) have adapted the film from the short story “Baster” by writer Jeffrey Eugenides with a screenplay from Allan Loeb (21, Wall Street 2) and have given us a film with intelligence and charm that strikes a wonderful balance between the comedy and seriousness getting the emotional high notes bang on exactly when needed.
Overall a rom-com I really enjoyed. Full of good laughs with Jason Bateman in fine form in a touching and funny film that despite being a bit soppy and flat in places delivers enough to make it succeed.
The Switch is out this week – 1st September.