Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Switch (2010) [PG-13] ***

Wally (Jason Bateman) and Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) are New Yorkers who've been platonic friends for seven years; there just doesn't seem to be any heat and passion in their relationship. As Wally's boss and friend Leonard (Jeff Goldblum) describes it - Kassie put Wally in the friends zone years ago.

Now, though, Kassie is approaching forty and her biological alarm clock is going off. She decides to conceive a child, with Roland (Patrick Wilson) as the sperm donor. Her friend Debbie (Juliette Lewis) throws a conception party, during which she gives Wally a recreational drug, after which he flushes Roland's semen and substitutes his own – and later has no memory of the event. After confirming that she's pregnant, Kassie moves back home to Minnesota.

Fast-forward seven years and Kassie reappears in New York with six-year-old Sebastian (Thomas Robinson) whose appearance and mannerisms bear a striking resemblance to Wally's. As Uncle Wally bonds with Sebastian, his memories of that long-ago party begin to surface. Wally realizes he has to tell Kassie, but, meanwhile she and Roland have kindled a romance.

This story hinges on the credibility of the relationship between Wally and Sebastian, and happily, Jason Bateman and Thomas Robinson are able to pull it off. Jennifer Aniston is actually quite believable in her role, since she doesn't have to convey a romantic attraction for either Bateman or Wilson, nor any parenting skills for young Robinson. And Jeff Goldblum is amusing in a supporting role. The Switch is yet another variation on the theme of how a child helps two adults recognize their true feelings for one another, but it's a mediocre effort compared to the modern classic The Parent Trap starring Lindsay Lohan, as Annie and Hallie, two mischievous preteen twin girls who plot to bring their divorced parents (played by Dennis Quaid and the late Natasha Richardson) back together. Nevertheless, The Switch will likely appeal to fans of Aniston and Bateman who have had personal experience parenting a young child; most other viewers may have trouble relating. 

Labels: comedy, drama, family, romance   
Internet Movie Database    
Metacritic 52/100    
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=54, viewers=64)    

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