The latest sperm donor comedy, The Switch, starring Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman hits theaters on Friday and we’re wondering if we should invest about $30 (including refreshments but minus the babysitter) plus 101 minutes of precious time on a concept that might be funny given its stars — but might also be a great big dud given there was already a bomb of a sperm donation movie earlier this year with The Back-Up Plan starring Jennifer Lopez. My love of Bateman stems from his character in the much under-appreciated sitcom Arrested Development. (I last saw him in Couples Retreat and feel he owes me that time I can never get back.) In The Switch, Bateman plays Aniston’s best friend who switches a donor’s sperm with his own when his single pal and the object of his affection decides to forgo waiting for Mr. Right to have a baby. Does hilarity ensue? Here’s what the critics say:
Orlando Sentinel: The best Jennifer Aniston movie in ages is actually a star vehicle for Jason Bateman. And Aniston’s work opposite the screen’s premiere mild-mannered funnyman shows her at her most engaged and pitch perfect … The kid (Thomas Robinson) is adorable, the couple well-matched, the supporting players veteran scene-stealers and the script, save for sputtering through oddly-placed bits of voice-over narration, just witty enough to make me hope Aniston might finally be into the Sandra Bullock portion of her career, and that Bateman, baster or no, might come along for the ride.
Miami Herald: Get past the pile of contrivances, though, and “The Switch” is a surprisingly sweet, tender story of a man paralyzed by unrequited love but motivated by parenthood to break free of his stasis. Directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck (“Blades of Glory”) and screenwriter Alan Loeb have jettisoned much of Jeffrey Eugenides’ original short story “Baster,” primarily using the switcharoo as the basis of a crowd-pleasing, soft-edged romantic comedy…”The Switch” heroically tests your patience, because it’s the kind of movie in which you know “every single thing” that is going to happen five minutes into the story. But Bateman, playing a slightly darker variation of his familiar comic persona, injects a layer of genuine pathos into Wally – his neuroses border on self-loathing – and he delivers the laughs when the movie needs them, such as during the big change-up scene, tricky business cleverly handled by the filmmakers within the confines of a PG-13 rating.
Colorado Gazette: Don’t be fooled by misleading advertising or even your own preconceptions. It turns out “The Switch” is a heck of a wonderful film…Directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck have adapted “Virgin Suicides” writer Jeffrey Eugenides’ New Yorker short story “Baster,” with wit and wisdom, striking the perfect balance between comedy and seriousness, and nailing the high notes exactly when the film most needs to. Though she is given top billing, Aniston is nearly irrelevant to the story (other than the fact that somebody had to be Sebastian’s mom). This is not intended as an insult, but rather an acknowledgment that she is simply not as critical to the story as one might expect. In fact, she doesn’t share much more screen time than the wonderful eccentric Jeff Goldblum as Bateman’s best friend and boss. If the film falters, it is because we never truly buy Aniston and Bateman together—their story needed more spit and polish. That said, Bateman is at his best here, both comedically and dramatically.
The Canadian Press: Not a single moment rings true in “The Switch,” which is unfortunate because it’s actually about a situation in which a lot of women find themselves…Aniston and Bateman both have long, strong TV comedy backgrounds; Aniston, when given smart writing to work with in films like “The Good Girl” and “Friends With Money,” has proven herself an actress of unexpected depth. Here, they just get nothing to work with. Their characters are barely-drawn types, and in Wally’s case, they’re barely likable. Aniston and Bateman have so little chemistry, you actually wonder how their characters ended up friends with each other, much less best friends.
Well, I think I’ll give it a try — after all, Jason owes me. Check back, we’ll continue to update with new reviews as they come in. If you see it, let us know what you think!