The Switch (tbc)

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner3/09/2010

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 102 mins

Surprisingly likeable relationship comedy-drama, enlivened by terrific performances from Jason Bateman, Jeff Goldblum and young Thomas Robinson, though the script struggles to get past its unforgivable central premise and bungles its emotional climax as a result.

What's it all about?
Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck, The Switch stars Jason Bateman as Wally, whose best friend Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) announces that she's decided to have a baby via an attractive sperm donor (Patrick Wilson as Roland). Wally feels put out that Kassie doesn't ask him, not least because he's always had a crush on her, but things go horribly wrong when he accidentally destroys Roland's sperm sample and drunkenly substitutes his own.

Kassie then conveniently relocates to another city, only to reappear seven years later with a young boy (Thomas Robinson as Sebastian) who looks and acts in a suspiciously familiar way. Realising (seven years too late) what must have happened, Wally has to decide whether to finally come clean to Kassie, but things are further complicated when she starts dating newly-single Roland, who she still thinks is Sebastian's father.

The Good
Jason Bateman has an extremely likeable screen persona, which is just as well, since the central act is so unforgiveable that it almost capsizes the film. What saves it is the touching relationship between Bateman and young Thomas Robinson – indeed, it's their relationship that forms the emotional heart of the film, despite the marketing trying to convince you that this is the latest Jennifer Aniston non-com.

There's also terrific support from Juliette Lewis (as Kassie's best friend) and Jeff Goldblum, who gets the film's only real laughs as Wally's wisecracking boss. Aniston and Wilson are good too, though Aniston fans may be disappointed at her relative lack of screen time.

The Bad
The film's biggest problem is that it can't quite get over its own plot hurdle, instead resorting to cop-outs such as Wally's convenient seven year memory loss or a forced emotional finale that feels like it was tacked on by focus group-style test screenings.

Worth seeing?
The Switch is elevated into three star territory because the superb performances ultimately compensate for the occasional narrative mis-step and the emotionally unconvincing finale. It is also fair to say that if you go in expecting a Jennifer Aniston romcom, you'll be very disappointed, not least because it's primarily Bateman's film. Worth seeing, surprisingly.

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Content updated: 18/01/2020 02:40

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