I know that I shouldn't like this film as much as I do, considering the clichés and the plot holes that seem to infest certain areas of the script, and yet I can't help but kind of love this movie. Jennifer Aniston is kind of like Jennifer Lopez to me; not entirely talented and yet totally adorable and so every movie they do, whether it's terrible or not, is watchable thanks to them. But, with `The Switch' it really isn't about Jennifer Aniston at all. Sure, she is the big name that drew the most people to the theater, but it is the supporting cast that really brings this film to life; most notably Jason Bateman and that little adorable kid named Thomas Robinson.
`The Switch' tells the story of Kassie; a single business woman who dreams of having a child but knows that her time is ticking away from her. Her best friend is Wally, a neurotic yet sincerely concerned man who has been harboring feelings for Kassie for years, but has always been too afraid to do anything about them. When Kassie decides to have a child via sperm donor, Wally is immediately concerned, and quite vocal about it to the point where it strains their friendship. Eventually though, Kassie settles on a donor, but a drunken snafu leads Wally's `ingredient' into Kassie's uterus and out comes Sebastian. The problem is that Wally was so drunk he blacked out and doesn't remember that fateful `switch'. On top of that, Kassie moves away to `better raise Sebastian' and so Wally doesn't get to see her or his `son' for nearly six years. When Kassie moves back to the city, Sebastian is thrust into Wally's life and, while he is initially cold shouldered to the boy, there is just something about that little wonder that fills Wally's heart.
Of course, there are your standard Hollywood `curveballs' that get tossed into the plot (some of them making more sense than others), but it is the solid performances of Bateman and Robinson that truly elevate this film.
Jason Bateman is one of those actors I wish big things for. He's a lot like Paul Rudd to me; a cute and likable actor who brandishes his own breed of `funny' with authenticity and originality and can handle making his characters `his own' with ease. Bateman is an easy standout in nearly all of his films. What he does here is something special, because those blue eyes melt away whenever he's looking at young Thomas Robinson (that kids is something special in himself) and it adds this sincerity; this paternal love that is hard to `fake'. Sure, at moments `The Switch' feels like a cheaper version of `About a Boy', and it never quite manages to be `that great', but the similarities to that film serve more as a compliment than anything else.
The rest of the cast shines as well; especially Juliette Lewis and Jeff Goldblum; both serving up `funny sidekick' performances.
In the end, `The Switch' is far better than I expected it to be. I love it more than I should and yet I'm not ashamed to love it this much. While I found the sub-plot concerning Roland, the assumed donor, to be halfbaked and somewhat farfetched, it didn't truly dampen my feelings for the film. The film just hits too many `right notes', and while it certainly delves into the schmaltzy manipulative side of tear-jerking in certain scenes ("you can have this one") it pulls it off thanks to the pure believability of Bateman and Robinson's performances.