Wally Mars (Jason Bateman) is quite literally from another planet. He is like most middle-aged single men; aloof, unaware and socially inept. That is not a criticism, it is an observation. His best friend, Kassie Larson (Jennifer Aniston), wakes up one day and decides that being forty and single is no way to live her life. Instead, it would be a smart decision to become inseminated by a random man’s sperm, provided his resume looks satisfactory. Naturally, Wally is perturbed by her extemporaneousness, and suggests she is taking a huge risk, since the sperm might emanate from a homeless man. Way to support the team, brother! Naturally, her female best friend, Debbie (Juliette Lewis), applauds her decision as the coolest notion ever. She even throws Kassie a “spermination” party, so to speak. While there, we meet Mr. Assistant Professor at Columbia and sperm donor Roland (Patrick Wilson), who is a handsome man (to say the least) and is as debonair as he is brilliant. What Roland is, however, is totally wrong for Kassie, but that comes into play later.
After witnessing what will likely be the evaporation of his best friendship, Wally becomes a mixture of intoxicated and inebriated from ingesting Debbie’s magic pharmaceuticals, and loses control of his actions. Wally works his way into the apartment’s second bathroom, where it just so happens that Roland’s sperm is waiting in a turkey baster to lambaste Debbie’s vagina. In some strange twist of fate, he accidentally flushes the sperm donation away, and in the heat of the moment, he lets Diane Sawyer’s magazine cover photo seduce him into replacing the spilled sperm with his own. Wally naturally remembers nothing about that night, and confides all of the details to the best damned leading man in any chick flick ever, Leonard (Jeff Goldblum). Leonard makes airy remarks to force the audience into laughing, and exhibits a love for the absurdities brought on by life (translation: he is F’ing hysterical).
Once pregnant, Kassie decides New York City is no place to raise a child as a single mother, and she leaves for her family home. Six years pass in the blink of an eye (a movie does not last for hundreds of thousands of minutes people), and we find both of our leading characters single and lonely. Kassie introduces Wally to her son Sebastian (Thomas Robinson). It is obvious to the audience from the beginning that Sebastian shares the same quirks as Wally. They are both into strange hobbies, are hypochondriacs, and have an aversion to people. Wally notices shortly thereafter their shared similarities, and begins to question the true identity of Sebastian’s father. In the meantime, a serious monkey wrench is thrown into Wally’s plans to reveal everything. Kassie falls in love with Roland, who is recently divorced and is obsessed with the idea of marrying the mother of his child. All the while, Sebastian grows closer with Wally and continues to loathe everyone else.
The Switch is a painful film in many ways. It will hit close to home for many viewers, and it reveals an awful lot about the human psyche and about our desires as we age. The story is often uncomfortable for viewers, but that is why there are supporting actors present, such as Lewis and Goldblum. It is their job to provide comic relief to distract us from the seriousness of the onscreen predicament. This would be a horrid situation to resolve in a non-Hollywood world. Real life is much messier, and seems less clear cut than movies falsely portray it to be. This is an emotional picture that may very well melt your heart, as sure as it could give you a heart attack just thinking about this situation, or some variation, occurring in your life. Either way, it is an important contribution to the middle-age romance drama genre, and slowly but surely, it will suck viewers in like a vortex, until they cannot help but to enjoy it with every fiber of their being.
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