By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
I sort of admire The Switch just on the sincerity with which it handled its premise. Not since Face/Off have I believed a high concept pitch as a real situation characters have to deal with. They made a movie about a guy switching his sperm with his best friend’s donor, and you believe it could happen and this is what those people have to deal with. I guess that would make Jason Bateman the Nicolas Cage and Jennifer Aniston is Travolta.
Review: The Switch
Now, as romantic comedies go, it’s still not that funny. So he makes the switch and then realizes the kid is his own and that complicates things. There still aren’t many jokes attached to it. There’s an out of focus penis, and I like the way Jason Bateman takes “cute” rom-com banter to a dark, real place about bad marriages, but that’s more bitingly dramatic than funny.
The kid is a bit precocious with his Web M.D quotes and animal activist rants. It gives Bateman’s character even more opportunity to reveal all his cynical beliefs as he shares them with the kid. As his best friend, Jeff Golblum uses Goldblumisms to explain the outrageous conflict. Juliette Lewis is stuck with the thankless job of bitchy girlfriend who doesn’t add anything but says mean things occasionally.
It’s one of those movies where it would all be over if he just told her what happened, but circumstance prevents him from explaining it. Actually, simple conversations prevent him from explaining it. Everyone in this movie interrupts each other so nobody ever gets to finish a thought.
It’s far less B.S. than most romantic comedies. It’s really just enough to pad out the premise with minimal misunderstandings. The premise really results in sweet moments of real life handling child things. It’s not funny, but a good portrayal of relationships. That makes it way better than McConaughey, which is also not funny but a ridiculous portrayal of nonsense relationships. At least The Switch is believable.
Poor Roland has the worst of it. He’s the actual donor who may be a bit of a douche, but he doesn’t do anything bad to anyone. He just got over a bitter divorce and now he’s got to find out that the kid he thought he fathered actually got the sperm switched? Bill Pullman never had it that bad.