Elevate Difference

The Switch

The Switch is getting a lukewarm reception, unless of course you count Capone's review over at AintItCoolNews.com, which makes the film sound like the culprit behind most major World Wars. Others found it sweet but lacking depth, and as usual in the case of movies that don't land with mainstream audiences, I loved it.

I liked the fact that The Switch wasn't all about gross-out sperm humor, which is what the marketing campaign made it seem like it was going to be, focusing entirely on the moment in question of the actual titular switch. The marketing campaign made it seem like the movie was going to be a Farrelly Brothers movie or something more akin to, The Back-Up Plan. But it wasn't.

This is a movie about what happens after a wacky mishap, the human fallout. It's more about the resulting child and less about the night he was conceived. Maybe it's because of the age I'm at, 28, and my thinking about having a family of my own soon that made The Switch the kind of story I could really grasp onto.

The film operates under what Ebert calls, "an idiot plot," where the entire film hinges around one secret that, if revealed, would essentially fix everything or ruin it forever. But unlike the frustration that typically comes with movies like this, as an audience member, I was rooting for the secret keeper and not wanting to ring his neck like I so often do. What's the difference this time? It's not really a secret. The two main characters already love each other, and we know that early on. They are simply too afraid of messing up their friendship and too frustrated with each other to say anything about it. Sounds less and less like the movie that was advertised, doesn't it? That's because this felt like a small film, maybe even an independent. But it was marketed to mass audiences.

Usually, movies like this play relationships oh-so-very-coy, and the main character seems totally oblivious to the fact that her male best friend is in love with her. I hate that. So, Aniston's portrayal of a character with mixed emotions, in love with her best friend but believing she deserves someone who will actually speak up for her and behave in a mature way, is refreshingly different. It helped me keep my patience with Bateman, who plays quirky and verklempt very well—so well that if it weren't for Aniston's more down-to-Earth portrayal, he would've driven me crazy. It's as if we have a romantic comedy where the woman is unwilling to participate in the traditional structure, refusing to wait on the man to resolve his feelings before moving forward in her own life without him. The trouble is, there's still that pesky problem of being in love. Yes, every romantic comedy is the same.

If you've been on the fence and you like movies about what happens after the seemingly "happily ever after," then give The Switch a try, eventually. Yes, there's a happy ending. Yes, at it's core, it's a populist movie about family and how we have to overcome the mistakes of the families we were raised in to build our own. But every once in a while, and with a cast like this, what's so wrong with that?

Excerpted from Born for Geekdom

Written by: Audrey M. Brown, August 25th 2010

this was an excellent review! i cannot remember any jennifer aniston movie i've seen, but you make The Switch actually seem intriguing. I especially like how you pointed out that Aniston's character is not flat, she is not simply an affable idiot, she spends a lot of time questioning.

found your blog randomly today, it's great!