The title might speak towards the switch of a certain bodily fluid in the story, but this is not the only switch with this film. Instead, what we get is a non-stereotypical romantic comedy (if you can even stick that genre title on it), differing in tone and far less groan worthy than most.
For better or worse, family and friends have a tendency to think they know what’s best for us. In Wally Mars’ case, well, he thinks his best friend is making a mistake by deciding to get pregnant through artificial insemination. Though he strongly apposes it, he still lends his support by showing up for her pre-pregnancy party (AKA the sperm donation party). But that isn’t all he lends. While in the bathroom he drunkenly disposes of the donor’s goods, replacing them with his own. Soon after she moves away, only to return years later with a son that strongly resembles Wally, who has no recollection of what he did that night.
Any comedy that involves little swimmers usually ends up being in the American Pie vein these days, but other than this scene The Switch is actually a rather subdued comedy. Going in I was expecting something far more laugh out loud hilarious (which Zac says I can blame on my buying into the marketing. I like watching movie trailers, so sue me!), but instead was actually pleasantly surprised by something that was far less sensationalized. In other words you won’t pee your pants during a fit of laughter (I really need to get off the topic of bodily functions…), but eventually what at first felt a little underwhelming for me actually becomes something truly special because of how natural and truthful the storytelling, comedy, and dialog is.
Most of the praise for this can be given to the actors, including the great cast of Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Patrick Wilson, Juliette Lewis, and Jeff Goldblum (who steals many a scene as Wally’s work friend / giver of sage wisdom). However, the movie doesn’t really hit its stride until the years go by and the kid comes into the picture. Which brings us to why this is also not your typical romantic comedy. Bateman and Aniston work well in their scenes together, but their relationship does not hold the main focus of the film. Instead what will have you leaving the theater with a smile on your face is the budding relationship between Bateman and youngster Thomas Robinson. There interactions are as cute as they are endearing, and it is quite hilarious to see the comparable personality traits and mannerisms of the two and how they subtly play them up on screen. Plus, Robinson is quite the little actor and does far more to win the audience over than just look adorable.
In the end, The Switch presents a story that remains far from feeling forced because it is allowed to play out as naturally as possible. And though technically it can still be heaped into the romantic comedy genre, it surpasses the rest because of how it doesn’t fit the stereotype. It doesn’t rely on clichés or mushiness to play up the “just friends but could possibly be more” relationship between Aniston and Bateman, allowing the story between this unconventional family blossom before our eyes. An unexpected change, but a welcome one.
Final Grade: B