by Sarah St. John
“The Switch”, starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, is nothing original. In fact, it is reminiscent of a film released earlier this year, “The Back-Up Plan”, which starred another Jennifer (Lopez). The difference? Aniston is a better actress than Lopez, which is reflected in her box office numbers.
“The Switch” is the story of Kassie Larson (Aniston), yet another 40-year-old-single-woman-with-no-kids, who takes matters into her own hands and hires an attractive sperm donor named Roland (Patrick Wilson). Sounds simple enough. But things go awry when Kassie’s neurotic best friend, Wally Mars (Bateman), in a state of drunk misery, switches Roland’s sought-after specimen with his own. Why should Wally have access to the specimen in the first place, and why would he decide he must replace it? Whether or not you feel strongly enough to ask yourself these questions, the film does not make a compelling enough argument to ultimately make you care about the answers.
Kassie gets pregnant, and moves to another state. Seven years later, she moves back to New York City and starts a relationship with alleged sperm donor Roland. Kassie also starts hanging out with Wally again, and repeatedly Wally (and the audience) have it hammered home how he and six-year-old Sebastian are so very alike. They physically resemble each other; they both moan when they eat; they prop their legs up on steps; they even put their hands over their ears when in the presence of loud noises.
Wally starts to recollect what happened that night at the “I’m Getting Pregnant” party, the drunken haze long-since dissipated, and realizes Sebastian must be his child. Wally tries to address the issue with Kassie on several occasions, but predictable comedic interruptions are found around every corner. Finally, at a party where Roland plans to propose to Kassie, Wally gets his big chance to set things straight. How will Kassie react? Will she stay with Roland once she knows he’s not the father? Will she finally end up with long-time BFF Wally?
“The Switch” is not Aniston or Bateman’s best, but it does offer some laughs throughout. The only real highlight of the film is precocious, hypochondriacal Sebastian (Thomas Robinson). The young actor plays brilliant and paranoid far too well for a six-year-old. This kid is adorable. Everything else about the story is far too predictable, and once again, if you’ve seen a trailer, you’ve pretty much seen the whole film. But as a carefree matinee (i.e. cheap date), you could do far worse.