Modern romantic comedies aren’t known for being blockbusters. In fact, a lot of them go largely unnoticed by the bored and jaded moviegoers that the film industry has managed to simultaneously desensitize and spoil. One such movie that managed to successfully elude my rom-com radar (which, I must confess is usually set to an “off” position) is a little ditty entitled The Switch starring Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston. Now, perhaps we’re simply at that precarious point in the film cycle wherein A-List actors go to being B-List has-beens. How else can one justify a movie starring two rather big names (well, I think they’re big — I honestly don’t know anymore) going absolutely nowhere?
Then again, it could be that The Switch just isn’t that great of a movie — and the mostly negative response it has received is justified. But then, these could be the same people that have been simultaneously desensitized and spoiled by Hollywood rom-coms…which may possibly mean that The Switch isn’t a bad movie after all — and we’re just too bored to actually notice! Or there could just a be some big unholy conspiracy wherein critics and test audiences are paid handsomely by the production companies behind big-budgeted movies to say nothing but very bad things about independently-produced low-budget films…
But why don’t I just focus on the movie for a bit instead?
Based on the short story Baster by Jeffrey Eugenides, The Switch brings us the decidedly jocular tale of an unmarried 40-year-old woman named Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) who is determined to have a baby. But since, the prospect of true love and all that other bollocks that is generally associated with the act of breeding, Kassie decides to go the other way about it — by finding a sperm donor. Kassie’s best friend, the rather neurotic Wally (Jason Bateman), is against the whole idea in-general, but shows up at Kassie’s Insemination party — hosted by Kassie’s best female friend (Juliette Lewis) — anyway.
Unfortunately, Wally gets a little too inebriated at the party and winds up inadvertently destroying the Grade-A stock of baby batter donated by a hard-up (pun intended) married man (Patrick Wilson); to wit he substitutes his own brand.
Seven years later, Kassie moves back to New York with her young son, Sebastian. To Wally’s surprise, he bonds with the neurotic child — and soon pieces together what happened on the night of conception with the help of his boss and friend, Leonard (Jeff Goldblum — yes, he’s still around, kids!). Soon, after Wally has fully realized that he is Sebastian’s father, he makes the painful decision to confess the truth to his bestest lady-friend ever: a decision that will prove to be even more difficult than he imagined when the original, intended (and now-single) donor resurfaces and wants to connect with what he believes could (or rather, should ) be his family.
While the subject matter isn’t as “normal” (or even as “clean”) as some would like (or expect) it to be, The Switch didn’t completely turn me off entirely. I found it to be a decent, somewhat-delightful flick. Bateman does a fine job portraying a thoroughly obsessive individual (which is something I can wholeheartedly relate to), while Jennifer Aniston just comes across as being…well, Jennifer Aniston. The direction is earnest enough, while the screenplay by Allan Loeb (who also penned the script for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) offers up a number of chuckles, but never quite reaches that tear-inspiring moment rom-coms generally strive for.
Of course, that’s fine by me, too: I’d rather watch a movie with some laughs and just a little heart anyway. I guess I’ve been desensitized and spoiled by Hollywood rom-coms, eh? In my opinion, The Switch is one of the better romantic comedies I’ve seen in the last couple of years. It succeeded in making me laugh; something so few “funny films” do anymore.
The Switch hits DVD and Blu-ray from Lions Gate Entertainment. The DVD transfer presents the film in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement. For being a Standard-Def release, the video comes through admirably here, with some vibrant colors and good-looking contrast. Audio-wise, The Switch boasts a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack that succeeds in delivering dialogue and music, but — like so many other films in this particular genre — doesn’t rock the house with non-stop booms and bass. Subtitles are provided for this release in English (SDH), Spanish and French.
Special Features for the SD-DVD of The Switch include a couple of Deleted Scenes and a Behind-the-Scenes Featurette interviewing the film’s cast and crew. Personally, as much as I actually liked the film, I found both the snipped segments and the featurette to be a letdown: the cut footage didn’t bring very much to the story as a whole, while the other item was a bit on the longwinded side. Incidentally, I’d like to point out that the Blu-ray of The Switch includes additional Bonus Material not included with this release.
All in all, I found The Switch to be a fun film. It’s entertaining enough for anyone who isn’t expecting something completely grandiose, but those of you who have come to expect shitfests like When In Rome will be greatly disappointed (and deservedly so, I might add). Plus, where else are you going to see Jason Bateman and Jeff Goldblum play off of each other (even if it is just a little)?