Friday, October 08, 2010

THE SWITCH - Passable Test-Tube Kid Comedy

THE SWITCH (romantic comedy)
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Juliette Lewis, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, Caroline Dhavernas, Todd Louiso, Scott Elrod, Bryce Robinson and Thomas Robinson
Directors: Josh Gordon and Will Speck
Script: Allan Loeb from a short story by Jeffrey Eugenides
Time: 100 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)

Thomas Robinson and Jennifer Aniston

PREAMBLE: After The Back-Up Plan earlier this year, here is another rom-com about artificial insemination. However, neither bothered to delve deeper into the problems of test-tube babies, choosing only to reflect on it as women's option to the real thing. On the whole, The Switch is watchable, employing the usual comedy mechanisms in a rather predictable way.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT? The movie opens 'seven years earlier' when Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) a smart single woman decides it's time to have a baby even if it means doing it by herself, with help from a sperm donor (Patrick Wilson). Her neurotic best friend Wally (Jason Bateman) objects to the idea but Kassie is adamant.

Unbeknownst to her, Kassie's plans go awry because of a last-minute switch that isn't discovered until seven years later when Wally finally gets acquainted with Kassie's precocious and slightly neurotic son Sebastian (Thomas Robinson). Now, should Wally claim paternity, or let things be?

HITS & MISSES: The Switch is made by the people behind Little Miss Sunshine and Juno. They know what makes a comedy tick by including background characters like Kassie's friend and confidante Debbie (played by a wise-cracking Juliette Lewis) and Wally's buddy Leonard (an elderly Jeff Goldblum). However, the script, by Allan Loeb based 'Baster', a short story by Jeffrey Eugenides, moves along a familiar track and is utterly predictable. The fun, if we can call it that, is in watching how the cast treat their roles - which happens to be in regular, by-the-book fashion most of the time.

Aniston's Kassie plays out like all her other characters (including that of Friends) and Bateman gives his Wally a somewhat brooding and self-pity touch that is consistent with his character. Too bad, there isn't any romantic chemistry between them. Goldblum does his Goldblum thingy with his goldfish eyes while Lewis gets most of the laughs as the kookie Debbie. Young Robinson looks promising as the self-opiniated boy in the middle. One scene stands out, though. It is the one in which Kassie finally faces the truth about her son's paternity.

THE LOWDOWN: Not an outstanding comedy but way better than Eat Pray Love.


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