Tuesday, 13 March 2012

The Switch Review

I knew what I was going to get going in.  The Switch is a very predictable romantic comedy that follows the classic formula of the genre to a T.  It has everything.  The shleppy hero who wants the woman: check in Jason Bateman.  The girl who's heart is misguided: check in Jennifer Aniston.  The girl's friend who doesn't really care for the shleppy hero: check in Juliette Lewis.  The Jiminy Cricket character for the shleppy guy: check in Jeff Goldblum.  The guy who the shleppy hero must compete with for the girl's affections: check with who I can only assume is a DNA cross of Matthew McConaughey and Owen Wilson.  The plot of shleppy guy wanting girl, girl wants other guy, shleppy guy does something stupid and almost ruins everything and tries to fix it through a grand gesture: check.

But it's a formula that has worked time and time again.  Yes, it's predictable and there are absolutely no surprises.  But while I was watching, I found myself really enjoying it in spite of always knowing what was going to happen next.  It can't be due to the story or writing.  There is really nothing of that in this movie that sets it apart from any other romantic comedy.  Yes, the idea of switching a sperm sample and then figuring out seven years later that the kid is yours is a bit new.  But the whole "guy learns how to live life from a quirky kid" was done much better in About A Boy.

What makes this movie good boils down to the cast.  Every character in this movie is cast almost perfectly.  Jason Bateman has always been able to play the understated quiet and thoughtful guy dating back to Necessary Roughness.  Jeff Goldblum is always a treat as a guy who is a little left of normal but still very smart and wise (ie. Jurassic Park).  Juliette Lewis plays a bitch pretty well as we've seen in countless other movies.  I'm not overly familiar with a lot of Patrick Wilson's work (outside of the A-Team) but he looked the part to play Bateman's competition and did it very well.  The worst performance though would have to be Jennifer Aniston's.  Let's face it.  She's pretty much a one trick pony that can only play "basic pretty girl with no real depth of character" and when she tries to get out of that, she falls flat (Along Came Polly).  Here, she played the basic girl part competently but there was really nothing special about it.  On the flip side, however, Thomas Robinson as Sebastian was brilliant.  He played the weird, dopey hypochondriac kid perfectly.  At times, I thought he might actually be Jason Bateman's kid.

I realize that's a bit of a mixed bag of a review.  I criticize it for being predictable but I praise it for being entertaining and its acting.  (I can be pretty manic with these reviews, eh?)  So I'll leave it to my criteria for a romantic comedy.  Did it make me laugh and did it make me feel good for having watched it?  Yes on both.  So see it.

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