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The Switch - Review

The Switch

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

ANYONE anticipating a typical Jennifer Aniston ‘rom-com’ vehicle from The Switch had best think again as Josh Gordon and Will Speck’s movie is generally better than those. But it’s not without problems.

The plot took a comic look at the issue of artificial insemination by posing a ‘what if’ scenario that actually plays to the strengths of Jason Bateman’s comedy skills. But it also attempts to conform to standard genre conventions and sometimes feels less authentic for doing so.

That said, thanks to some spirited performances from an all round great cast (Jeff Goldblum and Patrick Wilson included), it’s never less than entertaining throughout.

Kassie (Aniston) is a smart, fun loving, single woman who decides she wants a baby. Despite her neurotic best friend Wally’s (Bateman) objections, she chooses to go for this on her own and opts for the services of a charming sperm donor (Patrick Wilson).

Unbeknownst to Kassie, however, her plans go awry when Wally drunkenly makes a last minute switch that isn’t discovered until seven years later when he finally meets her precocious – though slightly neurotic – son.

But as Wally slowly puts the pieces together and bonds with his son, he must figure out a way of revealing the truth behind the switch, while realising his lifelong feelings for Kassie.

The Switch was actually the third film last year to tackle the issue of artificial insemination and trails in the wake of The Kids Are All Right. But it’s much better than The Back-Up Plan and benefits from a strong, charismatic cast.

The relationship between Kassie and Wally, while containing an inevitability about it, is well played and convincingly developed, while Wilson’s potential love rival is a genuinely flesh and blood character and not just a one dimensional foil.

Goldblum, meanwhile, excels as Wally’s best friend and employer, imparting delicious pearls of wisdom and/or outrages whenever allowed the opportunity. You really do want to see more of him.

Bateman, meanwhile, also works hard to ensure that his Wally remains likeable in spite of his questionable deeds – providing the film with something of a voice of reason, while placing him in the middle of an engaging predicament.

Watching him develop, especially as a father figure to his ‘son’, is one of the film’s many pleasures and one that allows you to even warm to the kid in question in spite of an initially precocious introduction.

All told, The Switch is a diverting little crowd-pleaser that’s both funny and occasionally touching, and which also manages to pose some interesting moral and ethical questions. What’s more, it also plays well to both sexes.

Certificate: 12
Running time: 101mins
UK Release Date: January 17, 2011