An exchange of bodily fluids in a reproductive romance, The Switch is likewise an artificially inseminated tall tale in more ways than one. For some reason, intent on the idea that it takes two collaborators to direct a movie as well as make babies, Josh Gordon and Will Speck flaunt surface lip service pseudo-feminist attitudes in support of single moms, while inserting controversy shunning, and conventional family values mantras on the sly about just how damaged those sons without a dad around can be.
Jennifer Aniston does the pouting misguided woman-child thing as fortyish Kassie, a fabulously successful New York City television producer. She yearns to produce a child of her own as well and is financially comfortable enough to do so, but lacks a suitable donor in the love department as her biological clock is heading towards the finish line. Her best friend Wally (Jason Bateman), who has been secretly smitten with her for years but is too neurotic to say so, descends into a deep funk when Kassie appoints ready and able, married dream guy Roland (Patrick Wilson) to provide his collected sperm sample instead.
So one night during what ridiculously appears to be a ritualistic fellow female fertility goddess gathering on Kassie’s behalf, Wally gets drunk and accidentally knocks over ‘seed guy’ Roland’s specimen container dropped off in the john. And the inebriated prankster proceeds to replace it with his own sample, while getting in the mood to do so as he admires a perky photo of Diane Sawyer on the cover of a magazine, I kid you not.
Now, if you’ve ever groaned about all those movies where a character wakes up the next morning and can’t remember having sex with the sweaty body next to them, laying an even bigger claim in the far fetched department when it comes to sexual amnesia, is Wally having not the least recollection of getting auto-erotic, with a little help from Diane Sawyer, and fathering this subsequent child, Sebastian. Though a stranger on a bus remarking how the terminally grouchy Sebastian (a scene stealing Thomas Robinson) that he’s babysitting six years later, has got to be his son no doubt about it, begins to jolt the dad into deep denial’s radically faulty memory.
Based loosely on the Jeffrey Eugenides story Baster, which was published in The New Yorker in 1996, The Switch is salvaged from leaving the impression of a totally preposterous scenario by intermittently smart dialogue, and pleasingly nutty supporting performances. Especially counting borderline terrorist tyke Robinson dealing with insomnia, hypochondria and other precocious issues, and Bateman’s wacky male bonding buddy, Jeff Goldblum.
But a story positioning itself via voiceover narrator Bateman as a ‘miracle’ that happens in the midst of that ‘randomness’ called life, is more likely pulling your leg. Because a movie about donor accidents detouring into bait and switch determined fatherhood and traditional family imperatives, isn’t any less contrived than narratives delivering basters along with those related bundles of joy.