Sperm fail: ‘The Switch’ trades in rom-com platitudes
Wed, Aug 18, 2010 (5:54 p.m.)
Jeffrey Eugenides’ 1996 short story “Baster” is gritty, bittersweet, raunchy and entirely unsuitable to be made into a major motion picture (for one thing, it’s only 14 pages long). That, of course, hasn’t stopped Hollywood from turning it into The Switch, a dull romantic comedy that takes the final twist of Eugenides’ story—a man replaces a donor’s sperm his best friend is using to get pregnant with his own—as its jumping-off point for the story of neurotic investment analyst Wally (Bateman) and his friend Kassie (Aniston) falling in love after she unknowingly gives birth to his child.
Seven years after the hijacked insemination, Kassie returns from another state with her son Sebastian (Robinson) in tow. From there it’s your standard contrived rom-com, with misunderstandings that could be resolved if the characters bothered to talk directly to each other for five minutes. Bateman and Aniston have no chemistry, and the movie’s most entertaining moments come from Jeff Goldblum in the thankless supportive-friend role (hearing him say “mumbety-jumbety” is the funniest thing in the entire movie). Compared to something like The Back-Up Plan, The Switch is sensitive and restrained in its take on modern motherhood, but on its own it’s just blandly forgettable.