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Switch, The (2010) Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 March 2011
ImageClichéd, flawed and predictable all rolled into one.  Yet, the film is still somehow engaging.  Well at least during parts.  However, you must decide upfront if you are really in the mood for another one of the cookie-cutter romantic comedies.

While I found parts of this film interesting, it is hard to move past the characters’ motivations, or lack there of.  However, what will be will be and you must take the film for what it is; a silly, brainless romance.

Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) is a 40-something woman living in New York with no prospect of a boyfriend.  Taking the creation of life into her own hands she decides to get impregnated by a donor.  Her BFF, Wally (Jason Bateman) is against the idea, naturally, because at first it is simply about how much he doesn’t want to be in the “friend zone” with Kassie.  Then it evolves into anger over her not wanting his sperm for donation.

Wally is a bit neurotic but really his intentions are good-natured and sometimes mistaken for neuroticism.  When a friend tells you that you may be making a mistake and telling you what he truly feels, it is not neurotic.  That is being a truthful friend.  When he cautions you about certain choices it is not him being negative all the time, it is him simply posing another position.

The film does this throughout, always turning something into what it isn’t.

At an “I’m getting pregnant” party, a party in which to meet and choose the donor, Wally gets beyond drunk, if there is such a thing.  A little coincidental mishap in the bathroom and Wally decides to replace the donor’s cup with his own.  As a side note, a better title for the film might have been “The Hijacked Pregnancy” or “The Accidental Switch.”
When Kassie becomes pregnant she moves back to Minnesota to raise her son.  5 or 6 or 7 years later, it is unclear as the film jumps back and forth with the statement of time, Kassie and her son move back to New York.  Of course Wally is ecstatic, still living a hum-drum life and harboring feelings for her for 13 years.  Of the little hitch here is that Wally doesn’t remember anything from the night of the party.  So he doesn’t know he switched the cup, which makes this film drag a bit because we as the audience know precisely where this is going and how it is going to end.

When Wally meets Sebastian, Kassie son, he starts to notice familiarities between the boy and himself.  For the audience the discovery is moot because we already know.  However, my biggest issue here is that many of the familiarities between the two are learned behaviors and not genetic.  I am not an expert here, but I don’t think propping your leg up on a bench in the same manner is a genetic trait.  Nor does it seem likely that moaning when you chew your food is genetic.  I would say that being a hypochondriac is pushing the boundaries of genetics, but okay I live with that one.  All the rest of the traits are learned and guess what, Wally lived half way across the country.

The film continues in this manner leading us up to Wally’s discovery of what he did that night.  The night didn’t come back to his 7 years ago, but somehow 7 years after the fact the night all comes flooding back.  The final bit of the film deals with Wally’s attachment to his son and vice-versa, in contrast with Wally’s dilemma to tell or not tell Kassie what he did.  Of course he tells her, she’s mad and then she realizes that she loves him and they all live happily ever after.

As I said earlier, cookie-cutter.  Some of the moments seem genuine enough, but there is nothing here to truly keep the audience interested for 100 minutes.  The saving grace here is the performances.  The actors deliver genuine emotions, although sometimes a bit too reserved given the circumstance in front of them.  While Jennifer Aniston seems to have settled in the rom-com genre for the rest of the career, she is still lovely as ever.  Bateman, Goldblum and Wilson all provide the film with warmth and heart.

If you are expecting that eye-popping color palette reserved for the romantic comedy genre, then you are going to be disappointed.  This is the first rom-com that I have seen in a while that keeps the colors mundane.  This is not the transfer.  I repeat, this is not the fault of the transfer.  New York is not known for providing excellent light that yields the most wondrous of colors.  The filmmakers seemed to have grasped that concept and kept the colors more lifelike than vivid.  This is a risky move given the target audience.  However, I was pleased with the overall picture value.  Fleshtones remain consistent, except for the final moments of the film when all of sudden color springs to life, used appropriately to signify the wondrous life that Wally now has with his family.  The black levels are fairly strong though there are some harsh shadow that changed the shape of the face in some half-lit sequences.  However, I attribute this to the production and not the product.  There are a few minor artifacts here or there, but nothing noticeable to most viewers.  The sharpness of the film is excellent, with only minor bouts of softness showing up here or there.  This is a pleasing video image, just not one you would expect from a romantic comedy.

The audience is more in line with the romantic comedy genre.  The dialogue takes priority here and remains nicely balanced in the front channel throughout the film.  The rear channels are more active than I would have thought, however, it is hit or miss.  The activity of the New York City streets can be bustling one scene and then fairly empty the next time around.  This is probably due to the mixing/editing, but it becomes a bit distracting when the enveloping experience goes in and out.  The bass, through bass management is solid when it comes to music.  The LFE is absent throughout, as expected.  The frequency response is excellent, but dynamic range falls flat.  This audio track suits the film just fine.

“The Switch” comes with relatively few special features.  “’The Switch’ Conceived” is a fairly standard pre-production featurette covering the adaptation of the short story and some of the roles behind the scene.  There is nearly one half of one hour of deleted/alternate scenes.  This section includes and alternate ending.  Lastly there are a few minutes of bloopers.  None of the special features really scream out, Watch Me.

“The Switch” is not going to be the best romantic comedy, but it falls right in line with the majority of them.  This is likely a great date film.  The audio and video qualities are more than adequate but they are not eye/ear candy.  I say give this one a rent.

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