THE SWITCH review; Creepy artificial insemination rape rom-com

rating: 2

The Switch is loosely based on a short story by Jeffrey Eugenides, the Pulitzer Prize winner and author of The Virgin Suicides. Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) is a 40 year old who is tired of waiting for the right man and turns to artificial insemination in response to her ticking biological clock. Her best friend, Wally (Jason Bateman) is confused as to why he is not a valid sperm donor and drunkenly takes matters into his own hands with the help of a picture of Diane Sawyer and secretly switches his sperm for the original sample. With no memory of his actions, he lets a pregnant Kassie move out of the city. On meeting with her precocious son seven years later a certain affinity becomes apparent and an overwhelming reality begins to present itself to Wally. Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman play characters with their usual typecast traits in this offbeat romantic comedy. Aniston doesn€™t get many good lines and her role could be seen as a mere plot device for the film with the focus all on Bateman and the relationship he builds with his neurotic spawn, Sebastian, played by newcomer Thomas Robinson. A well matched pair, Robinson and Bateman are a delight to watch and their unfolding relationship delivers some sentimental and amusing moments. Without a nuance of condescension to Sebastian and with mature dialogue between the two this becomes a winning element of the film. With the slightly implausible story and creepy realisation that the main character has in a roundabout way committed artificial insemination rape they never get the tone of the film quite right and leave it up to the performances to lead you away from that thought. Jeff Goldblum is superb and adds some much needed light relief as the narcissistic best friend and laidback boss to Bateman. Although Patrick Wilson (Watchmen) is underused as the unlikeable, smug and generic love interest and Juliette Lewis is again typecast as the typical quirky best friend to Aniston. The comedy is not obvious and does not come in volume, but the subtlety does work in its favour for the most part. In essence, this is a Bateman vehicle, and he delivers his deadpan humour as ever. Without him this film would be a bland offering and it is his strength and dry wit that make it quite enjoyable to watch. An unconventional idea for a romantic comedy that sticks to the genre formula. The Switch is on general U.K. release from today.
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