A couple months back The Wife & I went to see the Jennifer Aniston romantic comedy The Bounty Hunter, which was dreary & dull. Maybe it’s made audiences gun-shy of Aniston—her latest, The Switch, has had a slow few weeks out of the gate at the box-office. But The Wife & I braved this one, too, & it isn’t half bad.
There seems to be something of a backlash against her lately, but I’ve always liked Aniston pretty well. Even if you’re a “hater,” though, you may find The Switch watchable, because although she’s top-billed, she isn’t the star—indeed, her role, which she handles capably, is firmly in the supporting category. The real leading man is Jason Bateman, & the second lead is a little boy named Thomas Robinson, & both are excellent company.
The labored set-up: Aniston is a successful single Manhattan career woman who decides to have a child via artificial insemination; Bateman is her snarky neurotic best pal. She hires a hunk to provide the seed & throws a party for her conception. Bateman, drunk, accidently spills the hunk’s essence in the bathroom, so he replaces it with his own. Duly impregnated, Aniston leaves Manhattan to raise the kid in her hometown. The payoff comes when she returns to Manhattan some years later, reconnects with Bateman, & introduces him to Robinson, who is transparently his progeny. The two instantly bond, but Mom is reconnecting with the hunk, who she still thinks is the biological dad, etc. etc.
The direction is smooth, the dialogue is surprisingly not insipid, & Bateman has an effortless rapport with Aniston, with young Robinson, & with Jeff Goldblum, who’s quite hilarious as his amused boss. The film’s a bit anticlimactic, maybe, but considering the mawkish overbearing endings of so many "romcoms" of the last few years, that’s a nice, uh, switch.