The Switch

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Switch Movie Poster Image
OK romcom centers on sperm donation, single parenthood.
  • PG-13
  • 2010
  • 100 minutes

Parents say

age 15+
Based on 6 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 7 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

The movie sends the message that while families don't always start traditionally, when love is the foundation, they have a great start. It also says that relationships take work and courage -- if you take a chance, you might just get what you want (although it does seem like one main character gets what he wants despite a big breach of trust).

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kassie is a take-charge, take-chances kind of person, and both traits lead her to happiness. Wally has a great heart and is a loyal friend, but he can be neurotic, judgy, and discouraging.


The film's premise revolves around a woman's decision to have a baby on her own via a sperm donor, and there's much discussion about the mechanical aspects of this choice, including what men do to "collect" their donation. Couples also flirt and kiss.


Characters use words like "lard ass" and, occasionally, "s--t." Also "hell," "damn," and "oh my God."


Labels for/references to Tide, Duane Reade, WebMD, Donkey Kong, Life Fitness, Equinox, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking at parties and restaurants. A main character sabotages his friend's pregnancy while he's heavily under the influence. Another character fishes a cigarette out of her bag and is about to smoke it before someone else swats it away. One reference to popping pills.

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).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 17-year-old Written byTsion March 11, 2013

Predictable but Sweet, Funny, and Wholesome

The Switch is a romantic dramedy that could benefit from some better marketing: the previews label it as a semi-raunchy comedy, whereas in truth, it's a ve... Continue reading
Adult Written byTom Paine March 21, 2011

NOT a Comedy!

A waste of time for people expecting a comedy. This is a DRAMA with very little comedy. Even Common Sense called it a "RomCom" but there was almost no... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byPinnapleVMackentosh September 28, 2019


Everyone should see this movie it’s great for 13 and up this movie is great probably need a parent if your 12 or 13 even younger there is not to much drinking i... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bymoomoo123 June 19, 2017

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?

Movie details

  • 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: September 17, 2020

Our editors recommend

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