Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jeff Goldblum
Directed by: Josh Gordon (“Blades of Glory”) and Will Speck (“Blades of Glory”)
Written by: Allan Loeb (“Things We Lost in the Fire”)
While any pitch that starts off with the words, “By the two guys who directed ‘Blades of Glory’” isn’t necessarily an effective selling point, “The Switch” finds a way to avoid becoming the sitcom-type movie it sets itself up to be by delivering some surprising sentimentality and an honest script by screenwriter Allan Loeb (“Things We Lost in the Fire”). Despite a lack of hearty laughs, this is the kind of dramedy where it feels just as good to smile.
In “The Switch,” originally titled “The Baster,” Hollywood sweetheart Jennifer Aniston (“The Break Up”) stars as Kassie Larson, a TV producer who can’t ignore the thumping of her biological clock any longer. She wants a baby, but without any potential relationships lined up Kassie decides that all she really needs is a suitable sperm donor to make her a mommy.
Jason Bateman (“Juno”) plays Wally Mars, Kassie’s cynical analyst best friend who isn’t keen on her plans to conceive artificially. During her sperm donor party (what, you’ve never been to one?), Wally replaces the sperm sample of Kassie’s preferred donor Roland (Patrick Wilson) with his own, although he was under the influence when he made the, er, deposit.
After Kassie moves away from New York City and back again in the span of seven years, Wally finally meets his son Sebastian (Thomas Robinson in a scene-stealing role) who he doesn’t really know is his offspring until he starts noticing peculiar little similarities they share while he spends time with him. Not only does Sebastian have some of his quirks, he’s also quite neurotic for a kid his age.
But how does Wally bring up a secret he’s never been aware of until recently? Things get even messier when Kassie begins to date the original sperm donor, who has always thought he contributed to her happiness.
Despite a fairly predictable screenplay, directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck and screenwriter Loeb aren’t tied down to any lowbrow humor a film like “The Switch” could have easily relied on. Instead, there are some genuine, heartfelt moments especially during the scenes Bateman and young Robinson share together. It’s through these tender moments when “The Switch” wears its heart on its sleeve and becomes a sweet film that explores the complications of parenthood and friendship.