The premise of The Switch is ridiculous. It’s an over-the-top story of a man who gets so incredibly drunk he forgets he switched his best friend’s sperm-donor sperm for his own, mostly because he was drunk and spilt it, but also subconsciously because he wanted to get into his best friend’s pants. Ridiculous could work if this were, say, a cartoon cable program, or a raunchy comedy with a get-the-girl ending. But this is supposed to be a cute romantic comedy, one you watch in your PJs one afternoon for while munching on reduced-fat wheat thins. As a rom-com, The Switch is a little bit uncomfortable, a little bit weird, and somewhat lengthy, but it never embraces it. Even Patrick Wilson’s good looks couldn’t save this one.
Wally Mars (Jason Bateman) is an introspective protagonist who never takes a chance prior to drunkenly hijacking a sperm party. Kassie Larson (Jennifer Aniston) is an aging female who wants to become a mom, though she isn’t currently dating anyone. Wally’s been in love with Kassie for years, but he’s too unsure to firmly ask for a commitment; in fact, he won’t even admit the situation to himself. So Kassie, not dating anyone, turns to sperm donor Roland (Patrick Wilson). At the last minute, the switch I mentioned goes down, Kassie gets pregnant, and she then decides to move back to her native Minnesota to raise the kid.
Seven years pass before Kassie decides to return, her little guy, Sebastian (Thomas Robinson), in tow. It takes a realization, the reintroduction of Roland as a possible love interest, and several awkward interchange scenes before we get to the crux of the story -- whether or not Wally will find the strength to tell Kassie of his misdeed. Funnily enough, Wally Mars’ strengths end up coming through his relationship with Kassie’s kid.
Thinking of Wally Mars as a man with strengths comes a little bit unnaturally. At first, all we see of Wally Mars is a guy we could give advice at, but never to. He makes us a little uncomfortable and a little annoyed, because he doesn’t get too personal with his relationships, but then we realize he’s also a nice guy who means well. At this point, if we start paying attention, we realize he’s actually really funny. Wally is not a man who is bold with relationships, but he is capable of building them; in fact, the relationship he has built with Kassie Larson is cozy from the start, and therefore easy to miss. Both are past the stage where they really try to work hard for each other, but this isn’t true of the relationship between Wally and Sebastian, whose scenes end up being some of the best moments in the film.
While Bateman and Robinson bounce off one another exceptionally well, that isn’t to say any of the other performances in the film are misses. Jeff Goldblum as “the best friend” Leonard is a wasting his talent, but he still plays the part well. Jennifer Aniston and her friend, Debbie (Juliette Lewis), put in solid performances. Wilson’s Roland is a little off-putting, trying to play a nice guy who is actually a little crazy and makes some illogical choices with several relationships (like donating sperm when he’s married and asking for another woman’s hand when they’ve only known each other a short time), although I don’t think his actions are supposed to come across as crazy. Which, I guess, gets to the point: it isn’t the actors' fault The Switch is bizarre. It’s the fault of a story spanning a seven-year period that never gets the pacing right. Some moments take far too long and others go by in a whirlwind. Because of this, poor Patrick Wilson ends up looking like a creeper idiot with a glass-half-full perspective when I’m pretty certain he’s supposed to be Captain Awesome.
I won’t say The Switch is a complete waste, because I would be lying. It is a bit of a mess; honestly, I haven’t even gotten into the introduction and closing scenes present only to toss out information that isn’t particularly pertinent to the film. If you like Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston, giving The Switch a whirl won’t lead to severe disappointment. Just don’t settle in with your PJs and wheat thins expecting a nice romantic comedy. It’s only worth drinking a box of wine alone when you can’t sleep at night, riding out the storm in hopes of a moment of utter absurdity, like John Leguizamo falling through a roof somewhere only to begin belting out “The Sound of Music.” I can't say you'll find what you are looking for.
The Switch introduces the menu with a flurry of on-screen confetti sperm. The sperm confetti is a prop in the movie; however, it’s a quirk that doesn’t really fit the demographic this movie decided to go after. As in, women. Women post 25. Sperm confetti’s fine when you’re with a gaggle of girls at a baby shower, but less so when you’re watching a movie with a male protagonist.
“The Switch Conceived” discusses the hopes and vision the actors and directors had for the film. The Switch was originally going to be called The Baster, which is hilarious -- who wouldn’t look into a movie called The Baster? -- but I get how the disgusting image associated caused the film to abruptly change names. “The Switch Conceived” is unusually short for a “making of” segment, but this makes it really easy to get through.
Next, there are deleted scenes with commentary. For the most part, these segments are either different cuts of scenes that ended up in the film or scenes providing excess information. There’s one scene where Wally talks with a random partygoer that is particularly meh, until the last line, where the random extra totally delivers. It’s the second deleted scene, so be sure to check it out. Otherwise there are bloopers included, as well as some trailers from Lionsgate. Everything is decent, but not overly well thought-out or lovingly created.