The producers of "The Switch" no doubt would like to market itself as an "off-beat", or "unique" comedy. Something that defies the norm, that gets people thinking, etc. Certainly this was true with their previous movies "Juno" and "Little Miss Sunshine," surprise successes that the "Switch" trailers take pains to make you aware of.

But just because the same guys made those movies doesn’t make "The Switch" either of them. Because despite an original premise and a decent cast there’s nothing new.

Directed by: Josh Gordon and Will Speck
Written by: Allan Loeb
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jeff Goldblum
Rated: PG-13

The new quirky premises surrounds a woman (Jennifer Aniston) who decides to get inseminated and her neurotic best friend Wally (Jason Bateman) who in a drunken fit drops the chosen "sample" and is forced to donate his own.

Bateman plays his best version of Jason Bateman. Aniston is her best Jennifer Aniston. Jeff Goldblum and Juliette Lewis play the kooky friends. Patrick Wilson is the good-looking nice guy. In short everyone plays themselves, the way they do in every film you’ve ever seen them in. The frame of the movie, however unusual the details, is the same as well: boy meets girl, boy accidentally inseminates girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back. There’s even a classic montage of Aniston and Bateman staring out the window wistfully while angsty music plays in the background.

Which is not to say that doesn’t work. Aniston and Bateman are extremely likeable, and every line Jeff Goldblum delivers is pure gold. Newcomer Thomas Robinson, who plays the adorable product of the mistaken insemination, is charming and well-balanced as a young actor, with a minimum of hamming and Olsen twins-style cuteness. There’s a lot of well-written humor (the scene where Bateman drunkenly makes his donation with the aid of a magazine article about Diane Sawyer is especially hysterical.)

The problem is there’s nothing unconventional about this so-called unconventional comedy. And it cant be ignored that though the movie contains many platitudes about the modern family, in the end the only that will make Bateman and Aniston’s characters happy is the nuclear family unit: mommy and daddy and baby in one neat, conventional little package.

About The Author

Emma Johnson is a Blast Magazine critic whose work has appeared in The Boston Globe

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