Film Review: The Switch

02/09/2010

There has been much emphasis on The Switch being a ‘Jennifer Aniston movie’, but in reality this is not the case. It is interesting to consider if it would make any difference to box office results if this fact was more widespread. As it stands, The Switch is a movie that features Jennifer Aniston, but the focus is predominantly on Jason Bateman.

Wally Mars is skeptical when his best friend Cassie Larson tells him she wishes to have a baby by herself. After a drunken mishap, Wally is far more involved than originally planned, unbeknownst to Cassie…

Perhaps what is most interesting about The Switch is that it takes the unusual step of being a romantic comedy taken from the viewpoint of a male character. Although the romantic element is really between the two main characters, it is Wally’s inner turmoil that we see, rather than Cassie’s. Wally is undoubtedly the protagonist; he narrates the film and the focus is almost entirely on him. Inevitably, it is Wally we want to see have the obligatory happy ending.

The film was originally entitled ‘The Baster’. Filmmakers were wise to alter the title, as it moves the film away from the crass connotations of the original name. The film isn’t a crude comedy; there is plenty of more poignant moments along with some laughs. Furthermore, changing the title to The Switch reiterates the emphasis on the male rather than the female character.

The Switch offers a number of humorous incidents, but these are rarely of the laugh-out-loud calibre. The film is more effective when it concentrates on the drama. There are some cheesy moments, but these seem a prerequisite in the rom-com oeuvre. The more serious scenes, however, are at times touching.

Jason Bateman gives an excellent performance as Wally. He generates a sense of believability that really carries the film. Wally’s flaws (his neuroticism, lack of self-confidence and assertiveness) make him a relatable character, more so than the others featured in the movie. The Switch illustrates that Jennifer Aniston, Juliette Lewis and Jeff Goldblum each appear to play very similar characters in most of their performances. As Cassie, Jennifer Aniston gives us the type of character we have seen numerous times before from her. Lewis does her kooky friend schtick, whilst Goldblum does the obligatory laid-back guy who talks fast thing so associated with his persona. A stretch for none of them, then.

Although the plot is thin, Jason Bateman elevates The Switch to a much more watchable level. It is not a brilliant film, but neither is it a bad one.

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Film Review: The Bounty Hunter

21/03/2010

In The Bounty Hunter, Jennifer Aniston plays a career-obsessed journalist determined to get the scoop on the latest story. It’s a pity in real life Aniston does not pay as much attention to her career, otherwise she may not have opted for such a dud.

Though a regular fixture in the rom-com genre over the last decade, surely the actress receives scripts more promising than this. The Bounty Hunter does not work on any level. The film attempts to combine an action thriller with a romantic comedy, but fails on all accounts.

The main problem with The Bounty Hunter is that it is painfully unfunny. Whilst some lacklustre comedies may have only one or two humorous set-ups or jokes, this film does not have a single genuinely funny moment. Furthermore, the characters are one-dimensional; when the couple is in a somewhat perilous situation, it is hard to muster the effort to care.

The film is inevitably predictable, which wouldn’t be such a problem if the film had something else to offer. As it stands, The Bounty Hunter is the worst film of the year, so far.