The Switch keeps Aniston firmly in romantic-comedy territory. The film plays like an extended TV sitcom—usually a bad thing for a big-screen film, but not such a knock here, given that audiences are accustomed to seeing the two lead performers on the small screen. There's a comfort level with these performers, and though they're not breaking any new ground in The Switch, the film provides a few laughs and goes easy on the outrageous humor it might have emphasized had it been rated R.

Instead of raunch, the movie reaches for sappiness, as Wally spends time with Sebastian, helping the boy confront a bully and offering a few life lessons for his offspring. The dad/son bonding is sweet at times but also an obvious ploy to pull in family audiences. It's a difficult balancing act that the film doesn't quite pull off. Family audiences are unlikely to enjoy the early part of the film, while the crowd that does enjoy the early humor might not feel similarly engaged by the warm and fuzzy family message the film ultimately tries to put across.

If it comes across as pandering at times, at least the film doesn't descend into the sexual gags and ever more shocking humor that have become commonplace in today's comedies. Considering the way the film could have gone, the final result comes as a relief, if not exactly a film that can be recommended.

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity:  Numerous uses of "Oh my God"; "b-tch"; "d-mn": "holy s-it"; "kick your as-"; name-calling; discussion of semen, including crude terminology.
  • Smoking/Drinking/Drugs:  Drinks are consumed at a party and shown in bottles later; smoking and drug use; mention of picking up drugs; a joke that Sebastian prefers hard alcohol; Wally drinks from a bottle of liquor.
  • Sex/Nudity:  We see reactions to a photo of a growth on Wally's scrotum, but not the photo itself; Wally's friend tells him the grown men have sex with their female friends; Kassie throws an "I'm getting pregnant" party; kissing; a statue and painting of a deity include large breasts; Wally prepares to masturbate while staring at a magazine cover; a stage actor's bare backside is shown; his front side is shown briefly from a distance, out of focus; Sebastian cites lack of sexual desire among symptoms of a medical condition; Kassie says Sebastian thinks she's a lesbian because the other single moms he knows are lesbians; Kassie is shown in a nightie.
  • Violence/Crime:  Vomiting; Sebastian shows wounds from being beaten by a bully.
  • Religion:  Discussion of the role of "fate" in bringing people together


Questions? Comments? Contact the writer at crosswalkchristian@hotmail.com