THE PLOT: Spunky Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) tells her neurotic best friend Wally (Jason Bateman) she wants to get pregnant and finds a donor, Roland (Patrick Wilson), to provide the sperm. But at a “pregnancy party,” a drunken Wally destroys Roland’s specimen and replaces it with his own, then blacks out and forgets the whole thing. Flash forward seven years, and Kassie returns to New York with her son, Sebastian (Thomas Robinson), who appears to be a chip off Wally’s emotionally damaged block. Can Wally tell Kassie the truth, even as she’s starting to date Roland?
I don’t know about you, but romantic comedies starring Jennifer Aniston seem to arrive as often as the LRT at peak hour, and usually they’re events to avoid. But here’s the real switch – this isn’t a Jennifer Aniston movie. Or even, strictly speaking, a romantic comedy. It’s a story about a man. It’s a Jason Bateman movie. And as such, it was really heartwarming and a worth a watch because the man can act.
Jason Bateman has an extremely likeable screen persona in Wally, which is just as well, because he really had to carry this film through to the end. What saves it is the touching relationship between Wally and young Sebastian (Thomas Robinson) as it’s their relationship that forms the emotional heart of the film, despite the marketing trying to convince you that this is the latest Jennifer Aniston non comedy movie (don’t fall for it:P) .
There’s also terrific support from the ultra funny space -cadet, Juliette Lewis (as Kassie’s best friend) and Jeff Goldblum, who gets the film’s only real laughs as Wally’s wisecracking boss.
The film’s biggest problem is that it relied too much on a couple of good actors and as such had a weaker plot and many cop-outs such as Wally’s convenient seven year memory loss or worse, a forced emotional finale where all of a sudden Kassie wants Wally back in her life, after a life shattering epiphany that had her hating Wally just weeks earlier. Not imaginative. I didn’t buy it.
The Switch is elevated into watchable territory because the superb performances ultimately compensate for the narrative trip-ups and the emotionally unconvincing finale. It is also fair to say that if you go in expecting a Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy, you’ll be very disappointed, not least because it’s primarily Bateman’s film. Worth seeing, surprisingly!
Thank you to Nusantara Edaran Filem Sdn Bhd for the invite to preview this show. This show starts on the 7th of October at all GSC. (All photos courtesy of Nusantara Edaran Filem)