As far as romcom premises go, the one for The Switch isn’t bad. Man swaps sperm donor sample for his own, chaos ensues etc. However, there was so much wrong with it that I’ve decided to list eight examples for posterity below:
- No chaos ensues. You’d expect all kinds of zany shenanigans to be going on, instead you just get a child who collects empty photo frames. I am not joking.
- When did Jennifer Aniston get SO old?! I love Jen, really I do, but really… WHEN?!
- Who thought that Jason Bateman was a great choice for romcom leading man? I love Jason, really I do (Arrested Development 4eva, etc) and smug sardonic sidekick perhaps, but really… WHO?!
- Jen and Jase have zero chemistry. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. In fact, Jason Bateman has more chemistry with the magazine cover of Diane Sawyer that he wanks over to create the sperm in the first place.
- When did wild child Juliette Lewis, who even has her own rock band for crying out loud, become rom-com bit part material? As the supportive girlie best friend of all things! In other news, she’s aging into Stockard Channing.
- Why hire Jeff Goldblum, a bit of a minor movie legend, if you’re gonna give him literally nothing to do? I don’t think he had lines any more riveting than ‘Good morning’.
- Possibly the funniest moment of the whole 100-minute film comes two minutes in, courtesy of that comedy staple, a man with some kind of Tourettes. Not an auspicious start.
- The timeline and relationships don’t ring true. We start seven years ago, at the time of ‘the switch’. We then head to ‘the present’ (i.e. seven years from the start of the film), where Jen and Jase’s characters are such believable best friends forever that they’ve not had any proper contact since she left New York to raise the child. Suddenly, they’re back to being BFFs, except Jen feels ‘an energy’ between them (shame no-one felt to let the audience in on this energy too), despite the fact that in the intervening seven years, she doesn’t seem to have dated anyone. Next thing you know, she’s dating the person who she thinks is the father of the child and is considering moving in with him after what seems like one date… and if you thought that was fast, the father of the child (who isn’t the real father, keep up) is planning on proposing after the same length of time. Amongst all this, Jason Bateman *only just* remembers swapping the sperm whilst deciding he can’t live without the kid he’s only just worked out is his.
- Jennifer Aniston seems less of a mother than a benevolent pretty aunt on a sleepover with the child, her decade-long friendship with Bateman is unconvincingly founded on two dodgy dates aeons ago and when they do finally get together, she looks as happy about it as she did when she first saw the box office receipts for the film (hint: not good) whilst their first kiss, generally the crescendo of any good romcom, is so gingerly geriatric that the cameraman may have fallen asleep during filming, no doubt getting more excited about the prospect of grabbing a Subway for lunch later.
That being said, The Switch isn’t terrible. There are some nice quirky moments with Bateman and child, played with a natural ease by Thomas Robinson (so expect Nicholas Hoult style reinvention to cool hot teen in ten years from now). But being neither funny, nor romantic and a terrible waste of potential on all sides, it’s just a bit of a damp squib. An unloved wet patch on the mattress of noughties romcoms, which probably should never have been marketed as romcoms in the first place. Still… Jennifer Aniston’s hair looks nice.