OK romcom centers on sperm donation, single parenthood.
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this romantic comedy, while not brimming with sexual content, does address the fairly complex, mature topic of becoming a single mother by choice ... and the methods necessary to accomplish that goal. Expect references to what a sperm donor does to collect his specimen behind closed doors, discussions about the insemination process, and visuals of the substance in question (in a cup, of course). There's also some swearing and a fair amount of drinking (one character, in fact, makes a critical decision while sloshed).
Predictable but Sweet, Funny, and Wholesome
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NOT a Comedy!
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What's the Story?
Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) and Wally (Jason Bateman) are the best of friends. But when Kassie announces that she's having a baby on her own with the help of a sperm donor, Wally's not sure he's on board. At a party celebrating Kassie's decision, he finally meets the married college professor (Patrick Wilson) who's agreed to share his "seed"; he seems like a nice enough (and attractive enough) guy who's volunteering for altruistic reasons. But Wally gets drunk and ends up sabotaging Kassie's best-laid plans ... then, seven years later, he meets the child whose existence he may or may not have anything to do with.
Is It Any Good?
If not for Bateman and supporting actors Jeff Goldblum and Juliette Lewis, THE SWITCH would have been The One to Skip. Not because it's lousy, which it isn't, or because it's boring, which it's not. In fact, the premise has loads of potential, given how many women these days are opting to go parenthood alone. The problem with The Switch is that it's uninspired. Without Bateman to elevate many moments from corny to amusing, it would be formulaic at best and insufferable at worst.
Luckily for the audience, he's there with his natural delivery and impeccable timing, making most of the set-ups -- even the absurd ones -- believable. And humorous. When he decides to make that pivotal switch, we buy it. As for Aniston -- who is, after all, the film's star -- it has long been established that she's charming and funny. And she still is. But the charm is wearing thin, and the funny feels phoned in. We've seen her as this character many times now, ostensibly independent but needing rescuing, needing someone to love her to be once again complete.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the movie's message. What is it saying about families and how they form?
What are the consequences of both Kassie and Wally's decisions? Do they seem realistic?
How does this movie compare to other romantic comedies?
- In theaters: August 20, 2010
- On DVD or streaming: March 15, 2011
- Cast: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Patrick Wilson
- Director: Will Speck
- Studio: Miramax
- Genre: Comedy
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: mature thematic content, sexual material including dialogue, some nudity, drug use and language
- Last updated: February 25, 2023
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