I wouldn’t make a good father and I’m not afraid to admit it. I’m rude, have no respect for anyone, and I’m just a bad influence in general. But if I were to “spread my seed,” there would be a couple of positive impacts on the human race, namely my streaming blonde hair which just seems to radiate profusely, my artistic abilities, and of course my immense talent as a film critic. But hell, I wouldn’t want to raise a bunch of miniature me’s and I certainly sympathize with my hypothetical wife because she’d be shit out of luck, which is why I’d expect a divorce.
But I guess they invented artificial insemination for people like me — it’s the perfect solution. Firstly, I would get paid for donating sperm and if that’s not satisfying enough, I would also be able to brag about the fact that I have a child (which would make people look at me in a more mature and caring light, while in actuality, I’m an asshole!). The only thing that strikes me as a potential flaw is if someone were to ask me about the kid — his or her aspirations, talents, etc. I’d be forced to either lie or tell it like it is — “I don’t fucking know!”
Speaking of artificial insemination, did you know that there have been a whopping three films about the topic . . . this year alone? Yes, The Back-up Plan, which was wildly panned (rightfully so) and The Kids Are Alright which earned a spot in a lot of critic’s hearts were both released within months of each other. Now Josh Gordon and Will Speck continue the trend with their latest comedy, The Switch which itself deviates from the duo’s usual raunchy comedy which they showcased with Blades of Glory. That being said, The Switch which stars Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston had no chance in hell of being worse than The Back-up Plan but does that make it a successful romantic comedy? Generally speaking, yes, the film is decently entertaining because of several charismatic and idiosyncratic performances, but it suffers dramatically from predictable story-telling and a script that’s much too unstable.
Kassie Larson (Jennifer Aniston) and Wally Mars (Jason Bateman) are stuck in the “friend zone” and though it doesn’t really seem to bother either of them, Wally’s true feelings come out when Kassie decides to use donated sperm in order to get pregnant, following a speech from her doctor which explained that her biological clock is running low. Of course, every insemination needs a party, so Kassie throws one with her best friend Debbie (Juliette Lewis), and invites both Wally and Roland (Patrick Wilson), the man whose sperm Kassie is using. Of course, Roland is a major douche and the neurotic Mr. Mars tries his best to keep his emotions in check as Kassie is about to plant Roland’s seeds. That of course requires alcohol . . . and a lot of it.
And so Wally gets plastered and as he relieves himself in the bathroom, he finds Roland’s sperm which is conveniently sitting around. Of course, as all drunken people would do, Wally plays with the “specimen” and then accidently drops it into the sink. In a state of panic, he decides to replace Roland’s sperm with his own. Following the ill-fated (at least for the time being) switch, Wally runs to his womanizing best friend Leonard, and continues to blab unintelligibly . . .
Fast forward seven years, and of course, both neither Wally nor Leonardo look a day older and New York looks as pristine as ever. But Kassie is a no-show as she has moved back to Minnesota, but have no fear Wally, because you are about to receive a phone call from Mrs. Larson, informing you that she’s moving back — hey, I said the plot was predictable didn’t I? But her return means one thing, Wally gets to meet Sebastian (Thomas Robinson), her son, who begins to exhibit many of the same characteristics that Wally does and this brings him to the conclusion that something must have gone horribly wrong in the insemination.
I’ll be honest, the only reason that I enjoyed the film was for Bateman, Aniston, and Goldblum. The script is absolutely horrendous and a lot of the jokes fall flat on their face. On top of that, the script follows the same predictable storyline that the majority of recent romantic comedies have been taking: The protagonist’s girlfriend has a potential new lover, the new boyfriend is an asshole, the protagonist is severely misunderstood, and the obligatory “I hate you!” scene in the third act that just ends with the sweet return of one of the lovers who show their affection but not without a bit of sass. It’s all in The Switch.
I also absolutely hated Thomas Robinson as Sebastian. Yeah, he has the cute brown eyes but there’s not much else. There is absolutely nothing endearing in his performance and I found him a bit bitchy to be honest. I also loathed Juliette Lewis as Debbie — yea, we get it, you’re supposed to be the hip best friend but unfortunately, the character is surprisingly stale.
Bateman, however, does an excellent job. His character was in extreme danger of remaining a long running and unfunny joke (and nobody likes those) but Bateman adds an organic presence that just makes the character feel real and thus it’s easy to root for Wally. He also shares a lot of chemistry with Aniston, and this makes their relationship somewhat more enjoyable to watch.
But a lot of the jokes that actually work are delivered by Goldblum, who just has a certain aura about him. Not only did he save Law and Order: Criminal Intent but he also made The Switch competent in the comedy realm. But perhaps it’s just luck that screen-writer Allan Loeb managed not to fuck up it for Goldblum.
In all, though I ripped apart The Switch, I did find it entertaining; however, that does not constitute a good film in any way. So I’d advise any potential audience members to switch The Switch, for something much more well-crafted — may I suggest renting (500) Days of Summer?