- Street Date:
- March 15th, 2011
- Reviewed by:
- Aaron Peck
- Review Date: 1
- March 14th, 2011
- Movie Release Year:
- 101 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Rated PG-13
- Release Country
- United States
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
I don't know what's more off-putting about 'The Switch.' Is it Jennifer Aniston's character, Kassi Larson, who wants to get pregnant no matter what? Is it the fact that the movie thinks cut-outs of sperm are genuinely hilarious, so they plaster them throughout the first half of the movie? Or is it that Jason Bateman, one of Hollywood's most likable actors, looks incredibly bored throughout the entire movie? Pick one of these, or all of them. I don't care. The fact is, there are so many things wrong with 'The Switch' that it's difficult to enumerate them all, so let's just start at the beginning.
Kassie and Wally (Bateman) are best friends. At least they say they are, but I've never seen a couple of friends act so unfriendly to one another. Their conversations are forced, and full of awkward silences. There's never a point in the movie where you come to the realization that these two actually like being around each other. Wally incessantly nitpicks every situation, and Kassie has that patented Aniston "Pssh!" to keep him in line.
Kassie announces to Wally that she's planning on getting pregnant, because her internal clock is ticking. Since Kassie doesn't have a significant other in her life, and is apparently not set on finding anyone at all, she opts for sperm donation. In classic selfish Kassie fashion she doesn't decide to do it anonymously through a sperm bank. No, she and her friend throw a lavish "I'm Getting Pregnant" party that fully displays the amount of narcissism at work here. The party comes complete with a handsome donor played by Patrick Wilson. He's made to go into the back room, relieve himself of some of his seed, and then come back out signaling to everyone that he did just indeed pleasure himself in the back bathroom.
This entire ridiculous charade is the setup up for the whole movie. What happens next? In a drunken and drug-induced stupor, Wally wanders into the bathroom, where Patrick Wilson just made love to a Dixie cup. Wally is dealing with the problem that he might, you know, love Kassie, but he doesn't know how to tell her. Annoyed that he isn't actually the donor she picked, he proceeds to play with the cup of "ingredients" until he accidentally spills it down the sink. Not straying from rom-com clichés, instead of telling someone and getting the situation resolved, Wally decides to fill the cup back up himself, replacing Wilson's goods with his own "offering." Some may argue that he wasn't in the right frame of mind to go out and tell someone, I would argue that he was lucid enough to not only get it up, but was also prudent enough to realize he should cover his tracks.
Years pass, and Wally conveniently forgets the entire incident ever happened. It's explained away by the drugs and booze haze he was gliding around in (is this good for a baby?!). Not to worry though, he remembers at a crucial moment in order for the rom-com mechanics to kick into high gear.
The movie continues to be mind-numbingly monotonous until Wally's secret child Sebastian (Thomas Robinson) enters the picture. The relatively new child actor eclipses every one of the seasoned actors on screen. He's the only one who conveys any sort of human emotion. It's like he has to beat the feelings out of the adults actors. The adults look bored as hell, and little Robinson is giving it all he's got. It's a shame really. None of these actors even deserve to be in the same scene as him.
'The Switch' is a tedious mish-mash of introspective melodrama, and standard romantic comedy fare. It tries its best to be edgy, with its terribly hackneyed voice over narrations, "Look at us. Running around. Always rushed. Always late. Guess that's why they called it the human race." Ugh! Whenever Wally wants to finally get the whole thing off his chest, something always comes up. It's just as frustrating as any other movie you've seen, where five seconds of explanation would clear everything up, yet the screenplay drags it out until the very end.
If you can get through the first forty minutes without falling asleep, I applaud you. There is some payoff when the kid enters the picture, but it's too little too late. The movie isn't salvageable by that point. It's a lost cause. As lost as Patrick Wilson's defenseless little swimmers who were so callously poured down the bathroom sink.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
'The Switch' comes to Blu-ray featuring a 1080p VC-1 encoded presentation.
One thing that is strikingly noticeable, and intentionally deliberate by the filmmakers is 'The Switch' doesn't feature the go-to warm palette of most romantic comedies. This palette is icy and cold, full of blue and teal filters. Almost like they'll try anything to make you believe that this is something more than a generic production. The constant filtering causes skintones to look slightly pale most of the time. Fine detail is great though. Close-ups possess a staggering amount of detail, from facial lines to tiny pores. Clear of any noise or artifacting, this presentation is a technically proficient one. There are slight aliasing/shimmering issues with some of New York's brickwork and closely placed rod iron fences, but nothing that really distracts from the viewing experience.
This isn't the way you'd expect a rom-com to look, but as far as detail goes, it's got that by leaps and bounds.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
'The Switch's Blu-ray release features a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless track.
This is a reserved track, and at times it's hard to hear Bateman's whispered lines. Surrounds are silent for much of the movie, but do pipe up when the characters find their way to crowded restaurants, parties, or the zoo. Even then though, the ambient noise isn't anything that will blow you away. LFE is dormant for much of the movie, except with the musical soundtrack calls for it.
This is a pretty straightforward audio presentation that is there to deliver dialogue and also a few songs here and there.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
- 'The Switch' Conceived (HD, 15 min.) — Let's us in on the original source material, a short story by Jeffery Euginedes that was published in "The New Yorker". It also covers the basics of the story and how they wanted to create a male-centric romantic comedy.
- Deleted and Alternate Scenes (HD, 25 min.) — Instead of commentaries, short intros are given by co-directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck. There's quite a collection of scenes here, most of which, including the alternate ending, were rightfully dismissed from the movie.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
- Bloopers (HD, 4 min.) — Laughs and giggles from the actors as they mess up their lines.
Everyone in 'The Switch' is utterly unlikable. Kassie comes across as selfish and willing to do anything for a baby, making her kid seem like little more than an accessory. (Isn't Aniston sick of doing these dreary movies?! Please, give this woman a new sitcom!) Wally is a mope of epic proportions. The screenplay is somehow able to pull off the task of making Jason Bateman (gasp!) unlikable. The movie runs through a haphazard obstacle course of clichés all the while trying to reassure us with its numerous "getting real" moments that this isn't your normal romantic comedy. They're right. It's even worse than that. Don't even bother with this one.
- 50GB Blu-ray Disc
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- English, French, Spanish
- The Switch Conceived
- Deleted Scenes
Exclusive HD Content
- More deleted scenes and an alternate ending with introductions from the directors
- Cast Bloopers
All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More
about our gear.
Puzzled by the technical jargon in our reviews, or wondering how we assess and rate HD DVD and Blu-ray discs? Learn about our review methodology.