The Switch (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
March 4, 2011 by Dennis Amith
Heartwarming and charming, “The Switch” may be a contrived and predictable but I was definitely entertained by this film and enjoyed it. If you are looking for a romantic comedy, definitely don’t hesitate in giving “The Switch” a try.
Images courtesy of © 2011 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The Switch
FILM RELEASE DATE: 2010
DURATION: 101 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:35:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English, Spanish, French and English SDH
COMPANY: Miramax Films/Lionsgate
RATED: PG-13 (Mature Theme, Content, Sexual Material Including Dialogue, Some Nudity, Drug Use and Language)
RELEASE DATE: March 15, 2011
Directed by Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Screenplay by Allan Loeb
Based on the Short Story “Baster” by Jeffrey Eugenides
Produced by Ron Yerxa, Albert Berger
Executive Producer: Jennifer Aniston, Kristin Hahn, Nathan Kahane
Co-Producer: Brian Bell, Kelli Konop, Mary Lee, Allan Loeb, Steven Pearl
Music by Alex Wurman
Cinematography by Jess Hall
Edited by John Axelrad
Casting by Douglas Aibel
Production Design by Adam Stockhausen
Art Direction by Larry M. Gruber
Set Decoration by Carol Silverman
Costume Design by Kasia Walicka-Maimone
Jason Bateman as Wally Mars
Jennifer Aniston as Kassie Larson
Thomas Robinson as Sebastian
Jeff Goldblum as Leonard
Juliette Lewis as Debbie
Patrick Wilson as Roland
Kassie (Aniston) is a smart, fun-loving single woman who, despite her neurotic best friend Wally’s (Bateman) objections, decides it’s time to have a baby – even if it means doing it herself…with a little help from a charming sperm donor (Wilson). But, unbeknownst to her, Kassie’s plans go awry because of a last-minute switch that isn’t discovered until seven years later…when Wally gets acquainted with Kassie’s cute – though slightly neurotic – son.
Back in 200, American Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and short story writer Jeffrey Eugenides (“The Virgin Suicides”, “Middlesex”) wrote a story titled “Baster” about one who would try to get pregnant via insemination and eventually “Baster” was given a film adaptation courtesy of Allan Loeb (“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps”, “21”, “Things We Lost in the Fire”) and directed by creative duo Josh Gordon and Will Speck (“Blades of Glory”, “Cavemen”).
The name would change to “The Switch” after post-production and would be released in August 2010 and earning $49 million in the box office.
“The Switch” revolves around two best friends. Neurotic Wally Mars (played by Jason Bateman) is always there to give his good friend Kassie Larson (played by Jennifer Aniston) advice. But for Kassie, she feels that she is getting older and now wants to have a baby. Wally, with his neurotic way of thinking and tends to make noises when he eats, is not comfortable with Kassie choosing to get pregnant (via insemination) and expresses his feelings about it.
Wally is against it and Kassie said that she will do it on her own if she can’t get her best friend to support her decision. Wally’s co-worker, Leonard (played by Jeff Goldblum), insists that the two are like a couple and pretty much supports his friend when he talks about his problems with Kassie.
As Kassie looks for a man suitable to become a donor, Wally is not so accepting of her choices but she eventually finds a sperm donor in Roland (played by Patrick Lewis), a married man who is an assistant professor at Columbia University. He is only doing it for the money that will go towards he and his wife.
Kassie organizes an “insemination” party and while Wally is usually critical towards Kassie, he knows that she is deadset in having a baby. But Kassie’s good friend Debbie (played by Juliette Lewis) doesn’t like how Wally is neurotic and always in a mood, so she gives Wally an herbal pill to take. Both don’t really get along but makes a deal that if he takes the pill, she will not be near him. So, he takes the herbal pill and when he mixes it up with alcohol, he becomes extremely drunk.
While going to the bathroom, Wally finds Roland’s sperm cup which will be used for the insemination. But being drunk, he accidentally spills it in the sink. He comes up with an idea to replace the sperm with his and uses a New York Magazine with Dianne Sawyer on the cover to get the job done.
The next morning, Leonard tells him that he came to his apartment so drunk and puking everywhere and talking about Vikings and Dianne Sawyer. But had no idea what he meant. Wally has no recollection of what took place that night as Kassie’s party.
The next time he meets with Kassie, she tells him that she is pregnant and because she wants the child too live in an area suitable for children and not in New York City, so she moves to another state.
Fast forward six years later and we see that Leonard is still the same, still neurotic and not doing so well with the women that he is dating. Fortunately, he receives a call from Kassie and that she and her six-year-old son Sebastian (played by Thomas Robinson) will be moving to New York. Excited that his friend is coming back to the city, they agree to meet at a restaurant.
When the two actually meet, Wally meets the precocious yet neurotic Sebastian and immediately he starts talking about ecology and various words he has learned from Web MD and he has a habit of collecting picture frames. Shocked by how her son is acting, Kassie asks Wally to do her a favor by watching Sebastian as she talks to a teacher in getting him enrolled at school.
So, Wally takes Sebastian to the aquarium and park and starts to learn certain things about Sebastian’s behavior that remind him of himself. While riding in the bus, a woman talks about how they look like each other but Wally tells her that he is not his kid. She tells him that the boy is like his miniature version of himself.
Meanwhile, Kassie has wanted Sebastian to know his father and reunites with the sperm donor Roland, who is now divorced and the two end up eventually seeing each other.
As for Wally, he starts to worry that Sebastian may be his. As he tries to piece things together of that night at Kassie’s insemination party, Leonard tells him all the things he told him that night and eventually Wally realizes that he hijacked Kassie’s insemination by switching out Roland’s sperm with his own.
Knowing he needs to tell Kassie the truth but will he be able to…now that she is together with Roland?
“The Switch” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:35:1). Overall, picture quality is quite vibrant. Skin tones are natural, blacks are nice and deep but only one time where I did notice a bit of banding when there was a lot of red light on Bateman’s face. But other than that, I didn’t see any other problems with the video.
If anything, the smartest thing that the producers and directors did was to showcase New York City in a traditional ’70s and ’80s sense by shooting in the city and showcasing the city. Cinematographer Jess Hall (“Hot Fuzz”, “Brideshead Revisited”) did a fine job in capturing the look and feel of New York and also capturing the living spaces of both protagonists.
But overall, picture quality for “The Switch” is very good. You do see how blue Jennifer Aniston’s eyes are, closeups that do show skin pores and colors during scenes that showcases vibrancy.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Switch” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. For the most part, this film is dialogue-driven. You will hear occasional ambiance of the various crowd scenes through the surround channels but pretty much, this film is front and center-channel driven. Dialogue is crystal clear
Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Spanish and French.
The Switch” comes with the following special features:
- The Switch Conceived – (14:32) A making-of featurette featuring the directors, producers, writer and cast of “The Switch”. Learn how the article became a film, revising the script and the name and working with the talent on set.
- Deleted Scenes and Alternate Ending – (25:07) Featuring nine deleted scenes and an alternate ending with introductions by directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck.
- Bloopers – (3:48) Featuring bloopers from “The Switch”.
“The Switch” comes with a slip-over cover case.
“The Switch” is a charming romantic comedy. Bateman does a good job at playing the neurotic and Aniston’s character shows a woman who feels that she is a woman that is getting older and needs to have a child and then later on, feeling that she needs a man in her life, also to be a father for her son.
Both characters do a convincing job but I often struggled if these two talents actually had chemistry. I also struggled with the utilization of the supporting cast. While Patrick Wilson did a fine job in playing the character of Roland, it was interesting to see Jeff Goldblum in a more passive performance and not quite sure if Bateman and Goldblum had chemistry onscreen to showcase that they are good buddies. Especially Aniston’s character and Juliette Lewis’ character who seemed more hippy and party-like, the opposite of the more reserved character of Kassie played by Aniston. But both Goldblum and Lewis do deliver a few hilarious lines throughout the film.
So, chemistry-wise, the characters and the overall chemistry didn’t seem smooth but it does work. If anything, there are two things that stand out for me in “The Switch”. One is the writing by Allan Loeb and creating this relationship between Wally and Sebastian. The funny thing is I know kids like Sebastian, neurotic, OCD and are quite different, so in some ways, it was hilarious for me to watch this film and just enjoying the overall relationship between the two as it develops throughout the film. To be truthful, I found it more enjoyable to watch the father/son scenes vs. the adult scenes in this film.
The scene in which Sebastian explains about the picture frames and keeping the photo inserts still in the frames was quite touching and I felt both Bateman and young Thomas Robinson had the onscreen chemistry for the entire film.
The other positive for me about this film is how the filmmakers strived to incorporate New York City into the film and I thought that going that extra mile to shoot in New York and show as much of it as possible was very cool!
As for the Blu-ray, I wished there was audio commentary but for the most part, it was good to have the various featurettes on the making of the film, deleted scenes and of course, bloopers.
Overall, “The Switch” is a charming, heartwarming romantic comedy. Sure, it is contrived and easily predictable and while it may not be on the list of top romantic comedy films of all time, I was entertained by the film and enjoyed it quite a bit. If you’re looking for a fun romantic comedy, don’t hesitate in giving “The Switch” a chance.
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