March 11, 2011 at 05:00 AM EST

The Switch

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
Wide Release Date
08/20/10
performer
Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman
director
Josh Gordon, Will Speck
author
Allan Loeb

When The Switch hit theaters last August, it received mixed reviews and a slap in the face at the box office, opening in the seventh spot behind Vampires Suck, Lottery Ticket, and Piranha 3D. I find this tragic. Why? Because The Switch (2010, PG-13, 1 hr., 51 mins.) was among the most genuinely moving films of 2010.

It’s easy to dismiss The Switch as just another cookie-cutter rom-com, complete with wacky premise: Woman’s artificial insemination goes awry when best male friend gets drunk and swaps the donated substance with his own. But Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman, both terrific, have the kind of warm and easy chemistry that makes their characters’ shared history and long friendship believable. The witty script zigs where you expect it to zag, with Juliette Lewis and Jeff Goldblum turning up as the stars’ respective oddball best friends. Even the precocious tot who plays Aniston’s melancholic, hypochondriac son (Thomas Robinson) manages to avoid being kid-actor annoying. On the contrary: He’s sweet and touching. Ultimately, The Switch succeeds not because of clever (read: irritating) twists but because it makes an honest attempt to explore how hard it is for adults to cop to messy, terrifying emotions. Besides, how many movies can boast that their most poignant scene involves head lice?

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