Meet Kassie and Wally. Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) is on the other side of 40 with a loudly ticking biological clock. Wally is her best friend, long ago sidelined into the “friend zone.” In spite of his disapproval, Kassie wants to have a baby – with or without a long-term male relationship. She finds a suitably studly donor and has her friend (a tarty, annoying character played by Juliette Lewis) throw her a fertility/insemination party. Wally gets way too drunk and whoops! Switches out the donor’s “offering” with his own. Kassie moves home to Michigan and drifts from Wally. Seven years later she’s moving back to New York City with her son, Sebastian (Thomas Robinson). Uncanny personality parallels between Wally and Sebastian come to the forefront. Sebastian is oddly precocious, keenly aware and slightly high strung, and the two bond during their time together. A romantic comedy starring Jennifer Aniston may be formulaic and somewhat predictable. We can see the ending at the beginning, in the case of The Switch it’s how we arrived there that matters, and the journey that our protagonist experiences.
Jason Bateman is far and away the star of this film, fitting perfectly the role of neurotic-yet-lovable Wally. Aniston is likable, genuine and doesn’t age a day in the seven-year lapse (much like real life), but this isn’t a Jennifer Aniston film. It’s more of a new angle on a father-son film and a look into life we may not have considered ten years ago. The movie is beautifully filmed, with one particularly moving time-elapsed shot of New York City. There are so many movies filmed in New York, and each one takes on its own unique flavor of the city and projects it onto the screen. This version is decidedly unglamorous but not overly gritty.
While some aspects of the story beg to be flushed out a bit more (who is Kassie, anyway?) for an hour and a half timeframe, the movie does its job wrapping up all the important pieces in the end. Those looking for a suckerpunch of sentiment won’t get it; the ending is subtle and tasteful. Critics hated it, but I’ll tell you – it’s worth watching!