In 2002 Jennifer Aniston starred in The Good Girl, and for an all-too-brief moment it appeared that Aniston may have left the relative safety of the fluffy rom-com, perhaps looking to broaden her range outside of Friends. Unfortunately any possible predilection for interesting film choices were short-lived and eight years later The Switch is the latest in a glut of Aniston rom-coms.
Some, like Bruce Almighty or even Along Came Polly, have been pleasing, albeit hardly ground-breaking, but The Switch isn’t even enjoyable. Overlong, dull and leaving its audience entirely apathetic, The Switch doesn’t quite reach the depths of this year’s Leap Year (which retains its title as worst rom-com of the year), but it’s not far off.
Wally (Jason Bateman) is neurotic and pessimistic; Kassie (Aniston) his best friend, feeling her biological clock is ticking, decides to conceive a child with the aid of a sperm donor. To celebrate her decision she throws an ‘I’m getting pregnant party’, during which an intoxicated Wally replaces the donor sperm with his own semen. Wally, initially due to his inebriated state, has no recollection of his actions, not realising that the son Kassie comes to bear is his child.
After falling pregnant Kassie leaves New York believing that the city isn’t a good place to raise a child; something that doesn’t stop her from returning, child in tow, five years later. Upon her return the inevitable happens, as Wally bonds with his son he predictably recognizes that he has been love with Kassie all along. Thus as may be expected, the rest of the film’s narrative is concerned with Wally attempting to realise his love for Kassie, as well as his affection for his son.
The Switch gives the audience little reason to care what happens to any of these characters, there is very little character development and any attempt at creating character depth is heavy-handed. The events of the film, specifically Kassie’s decision to have a child, is introduced within the film’s first five minutes giving the audience no opportunity to relate to the characters before the film progresses. The audience is unable to see how much the characters have supposedly changed or developed purely because we don’t know what they were like beforehand.