THE SWITCH is another story about artificial insemination and the impact it has on the participants. Yes, it has been done many times with varying results, but what makes this version of the story different and worthy of merit and attention is the sparkling screenplay by Allan Loeb adapted from the short story 'Baster' by gifted author Jeffrey Eugenides ('Middlesex', 'The Virgin Suicides', 'My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead', and short stories 'The Speed of Sperm', 'Air Mail', 'Ancient Myths', etc). It is a film that gives us the opportunity to remember the fine comic time of Jeff Goldblum, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, and Juliet Lewis, courtesy of the fine direction by Josh Gordon and Will Speck..
Wally Mars (Jason Bateman) is an oddly neurotic character who has a very difficult time connecting to people, especially in the dating department. His best friend is Kassie Larson (Jennifer Aniston) a successful woman who abruptly decides her biologic clock is ticking down and decides to have a baby by paying a sperm donor. Wally is shocked, but Kassie's other best friend Debbie (Juliette Lewis, bubbling brilliantly) supports her conviction to take charge of her life and plans a party to celebrate Kassie's incipient 'donation'. Kassie selects a potential donor in Roland (Patrick Wilson) who is a square and married teacher but 'needs the money'. At the party when the 'donation' is to be deposited, Wally gets drunk and accidentally spills Roland's 'contribution', and in drunken desperation replaces it with his own - a secret he doesn't even share with Leonard (Jeff Goldblum) with whom he works and has a strong friendship. The inseminated Kassie moves back home, returning seven years later with her six-year old son Sebastian (Thomas Robinson, a very fine child actor). Kassie courts the now divorced Roland, a blow to Wally who in his 'babysitting' chores grows close to Sebastian who is very much like Wally. How the story ends is predictable but heartwarmingly humorous, especially watching the relationship between Wally and Sebastian develop.
In addition to the strong cast of leading actors there are cameos by Kelli Barrett and especially the significantly impressive Scott Elrod (watch this young actor's career blossom!). Largely due to the smart dialogue delivered by specialists in comedy, this film works well. Grady Harp, March 11