Not a single moment rings true in "The Switch," which is unfortunate because it's about a situation in which a lot of women find themselves.
Jennifer Aniston’s character, Kassie, is a single, 40-year-old New York TV producer who wants to have a baby but doesn’t want to wait around for a ma to make that happen. She turns to a sperm donor, only to have her longtime best friend, the uptight stock trader Wally (Jason Bateman), switch the specimens in a drunken stupor.
The whole deal is going down at an insemination party thrown by the movie’s obligatory wacky best friend (Juliette Lewis), complete with jokey turkey basters. This is played in broad, sitcommy fashion, utterly divorced from the way people behave in real life. The way directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck (“Blades of Glory”) play the story, there’s little humanity to be found – and even less real humor.
Aniston and Bateman get nothing to work with. Their characters are barely drawn types, and in Wally’s case, they’re barely likable. Aniston and Bateman have so little chemistry, you actually wonder how their characters ended up friends with each other, much less best friends.
Of course, beyond that, Wally’s always been secretly in love with Kassie and incapable of connecting with any other woman. He’s miserable, which would be fine if he were interesting, but this guy’s just a dud. The child who emerges from Wally’s switch is so precocious and neurotic himself, he resembles no other 6-year-old on the planet. Which is, of course, the gag: He’s just like Wally. But despite young actor Thomas Robinson’s saucer-eyed cuteness, it feels forced rather than funny.
Kassie assumes her baby comes courtesy of the seed from Roland (Patrick Wilson), a blonde-haired, blue-eyed donor. Once she gets pregnant, she goes home to Minnesota to raise young Sebastian, only to return to New York for work years later. Wally is exactly the same – but once he meets Sebastian and starts spending time with him, the memories of his inebriated scheme come back to him and he realizes he might be this kid’s dad.
Will Wally tell Kassie the truth? Will there be some ill-timed confession in front of a large group of strangers? These things don’t happen in real life. They do in contrived romantic comedies.
* 1/2 ***
Directors: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Cast: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Juliette Lewis, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum
Running time: 1:40
Rating: PG-13; mature thematic content, sexual material including dialogue, nudity, drug use, language