'Switch' To A More Complex Rom-Com

Originality and acting set Switch apart from the rest of the genre.

After seeing and not liking the Jennifer Lopez movie about artificial insemination called The Back-Up Plan, I really did not want to see The Switch, a film that I thought would be more of the same.

But, The Switch was a nice surprise…being much more clever and honest than The Back-Up Plan ever got close to being.  At its heart, The Switch is a romantic comedy, though it veers off into straight “comedy” mode once or twice. 

A little more complicated than most “rom coms,” The Switch tells the story of two friends, one guy and one gal, who have not yet found love.  The gal, Kassie, hears her biological clock ticking away so without a man in her life she decides to get pregnant through a donor. 

Naturally, in true rom com fashion, nothing ever goes as planned and complications with Kassie’s decision arise.  But, even saying that, I would stress that this film does not have your typical romantic comedy predictability…attributed mostly to the story, but also to the acting.  Both Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston (neither of whom are my favs) hold their own here as non-cookie-cutter characters in a genre where most characters are overdone. 

My big issue with Aniston is that she’s always Rachel Green from Friends.  No matter what genre she tries or what performance she tackles, I always see her acting as Rachel…very much like Helen Hunt always seemed to be to be recycling her Mad About You character over and over again. 

But here, both Aniston and Bateman bring their characters to life in clever ways.  Bateman is not just the patsy friend to Aniston’s free spirit.  His character, Wally, has a deeper side than most men in rom coms…he’s not just a one-dimensional “yes” man.  And Aniston is not some whiny woman just looking to fill her life in some token way.  These could be real people in a real friendship. 

Yes, the plot goes a little goofy when Wally “replaces” the donor sperm with his own…which is far-fetched and a little over-the-top.  But because the rest of the film is so strong, we can overlook this minor indiscretion.  One of my major complaints with romantic comedies is that most of them do not even try to set themselves apart in some way.  They just don’t bother since they think being “cute” will win hearts.  Well, just “cute” might win hearts but not brains. 

A little creativity is always appreciated, no matter what genre the movie.  The Switch stands its ground as a rom com with originality! 

The Switch: 2010, rated PG-13, 101 minutes, directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck, starring Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Patrick Wilson, Juliette Lewis and Jeff Goldblum.  The Niles Public Library owns this film on DVD. 

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