Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Switch - 3 1/2 stars

I didn't expect to like this movie much going in. It sounds like a pretty wacky premise: Wally (Jason Bateman) and Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) are best friends, but we can tell he likes her. He just made a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in the friend zone. Kassie decides she wants to have a baby, so she finds a donor and plans her insemination. On the night of the deed, Wally accidentally drops the cup in the sink and the seed goes down the drain. Thinking quickly, he replaces it with his own. Oh, and he is so drunk that he doesn't remember it the next day.

Kassie moves away, and we cut to 7 years later. She moves back and Wally meets her (and his) son. Bit by bit Wally starts to notice how much the kid acts like him. He also develops a really good relationship with the kid. Eventually he figures out what happened, and his dilemma is whether to tell Kassie or not. If he does, she will probably hate him and he will never see the kid again. If he doesn't, he can be in the kid's life but he will never be more than Uncle Wally. Of course he should just pursue Kassie, marry her, then tell her down the road that he is really the father. Or not.

In a lesser movie (a typical chick flick), this wouldn't work. The character's actions wouldn't be believable. But it works in this movie. The writing is better than average and Bateman does a really good job with it. For one thing, it is believable that he would be to chicken to tell Kassie how he really feels about her. His character is very well established as neurotic and insecure.

One thing I didn't like was the movie had the typical confession scene. Any time a character has a secret, he will end up telling the other person in the most public and embarrassing setting possible. Remember The Proposal? Sandra Bullock decides to come clean during the wedding and tell all the assembled guests that their relationship is a sham. She couldn't have done it right before?

Even the public confession scene works because Bateman pulls it off so well, and it makes sense that he would confess when he does. He tries to tell her a few times, but he doesn't get the chance, and something happens that kind of forces his hand.

Jeff Goldblum is entertaining as always as Bateman's co-worker. Juliette Lewis is also very funny as Kassie's best friend. But the standout performance is the kid Sebastian (Thomas Robinson). He is adorable, and I found myself really rooting for Wally and Kassie to end up together. Not so much for them, but because I wanted Sebastian to be happy and have Wally as his dad.

Usually I'm pretty cynical and this isn't my typical movie, but the movie is that good.

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