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The Switch

2010-10-15 11:51
 
 

What it's about:

Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) a single woman who fears that she is running out of time to have children, turns to artificial insemination, but her pregnancy is "hijacked" by her best friend Wally (Jason Bateman) who, in a state of severe inebriation, swaps her intended sperm sample with own.  

What we thought:

The Switch would have been so much better had they only removed Jennifer Aniston from it completely. Now, granted, that would mean having to come up with a totally different story and, sure, the film probably never would have gotten made in the first place seeing as how Aniston is its executive producer, but most anything would have been preferable to the misfire that The Switch landed up being.

It probably seems unfair to lay all of the film's failures on Ms. Aniston's head, especially when you have a tired plot, flat direction and mawkishly inane dialogue that is almost as irritating as the unbelievably pretentious, faux-philosophical narration. Sure enough, these same problems would probably have dogged the film had someone else been cast but, maybe it's just me, at least it wouldn't have been yet another bloody romantic comedy starring Rachel from Friends.

I enjoyed Friends enough back in its heyday but even in the later seasons, Aniston's defining character started to get seriously annoying. It's been something like a decade since that show ended but Aniston is still playing the same stale role. What's especially annoying about it this time around, is that Aniston's character really isn't what the film so obviously wants to concentrate on.

The Switch should belong almost entirely to Jason Bateman and, indeed, he is on screen the most and the story is really, when you get right down to it, the relationship between his character and his young son that he is just getting to know. Bateman is great when he's allowed to cut loose, especially at the film's start when it concentrates purely on his elements of the story. and better yet, when we are treated to the banter between Bateman and the forever wonderfully oddball Jeff Goldbum. The mawkish and pat elements never go away completely but in these parts of the film there are some solid chuckles to be had, a few moments that are actually rather sweet and there is even some honest to goodness character development to be had.   

And then Rachel from Friends shows up and spoils everything.

Every last bit of energy, joy and potential quality that the film might have had been building to is sucked up instantaneously the minute this dour, uncharismatic succubus-like presence turns up on screen. I never care about her problems, never feel involved in her budding relationship with the original sperm donor, even if he is played by the always-good Patrick Wilson, and every minute she's on screen I spent wishing she would just go away. Aniston has clearly displayed some actual acting talent in the past (though at this point it's quite hard to remember when) but she needs to stop doing this schtick, which has gone from being merely bland to being teeth-grindingly awful.    
         
As it is, we are left with a movie that veers within a single second from being perfectly enjoyable to being the romantic comedy equivalent of root canal surgery. It's hard not to imagine how much better things would have been had a decent writer given the script a once-over and had they cast, say, Marisa Tomei, Lauren Graham or Mary-Louise Parker in the central-but-off-to-the-side role instead of, once again, bloody Rachel from bloody Friends.


Another romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston and her quest for love and perfection, though it could have been so much better.
Read more on:    jennifer aniston

Phillipa 2010/10/19 9:03 AM
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Im so bored of Jennifer Anniston - she is in movies too often and is always playing the same role - how boring!
Caryn 2010/10/19 12:52 PM
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Sorry guys, I completely disagree, I think Jennifer is a classic actress who is easy to watch. I love all her movies. It is clear than the writer of this article is a man as he does not see the good in a comedy/chick flick! I think the next romantic comedy review should be written by a woman, maybe that way we would know more about the film and less about what his/her opinion or should I say personal feeling on the actor is. We get it Iian you don’t like her, but a lot of us do..
Gen 2010/10/19 1:31 PM
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I really enjoyed this movie. I thought it was heart-warming and sincere. Jason Bateman was excellent as was the little boy. Jennifer Aniston played her role perfectly.
Ilan Preskovsky 2010/10/19 10:14 PM
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Actually, Caryn, I'm a big fan of romantic comedies when they're done right (see When Harry Met Sally, Annie Hall, The Sure Thing) but most modern Hollywood romantic comedies are cynical, lazy and unfunny and that I very much have a problem with. As for this film, that we're discussing it as a romantic comedy is exactly the problem - it's supposed to be the story of Bateman's character and his son, his romance with Aniston seems crow-barred in to play up to the Aniston fans and I don't think it works at all and basically hijacks the film.
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