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Thursday, Aug. 26, 2010 12:58 am

The Switch is better than you think

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Jason Bateman stars in The Switch.

One of the best things about being a film critic is stumbling upon a movie that genuinely surprises you. Such is the case with The Switch, the new dramedy with Jennifer Aniston that’s being promoted much like the many brainless chick flicks that clog the multiplexes. Thankfully, it’s nothing like the similarly themed The Back-Up Plan or others, but it’s rather a smart, moving look at love from the point of view of a woman seeking perfection and a man who finds himself unexpectedly swept away by circumstance.

Kassie (Aniston) is a successful career woman whose biological clock has gone into overdrive. Discouraged by the many failed relationships that have littered her past, she takes matters into her own hands by seeking out a sperm donor. Her best friend, Wally (Jason Bateman), is less than thrilled by this as he’s pined for her for years. He’s even less excited when he meets Kassie’s sperm donor Roland (Patrick Wilson) a Ken-doll vision of perfection who reeks of insincerity. Taking matters into his own hands, Wally swaps his sperm with Roland’s in a state of drunken impulsivity at an impregnation party and this single act creates complications none of them could anticipate.

While Aniston is the film’s star, the movie really belongs to Bateman. His character develops more than any other and the actor not only delivers his usual wry comic performance but an introspective one as well. Ultimately realizing he’s the father of Kassie’s seven-year-old son, Wally’s world is turned upside down and he’s forced to take chances with his heart that he’s always shied away from. While the film’s premise is gimmicky, its story is executed with such deftness by all that it winds up being a moving look at what it truly takes to be a parent and its ultimate reward. No silly slapstick or stupid circumstances here, just a genuine look at matters of the heart. As far as Hollywood movies go, this is truly a switch indeed.  

Contact Chuck Koplinski at ckoplinski@usd116.org.

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