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LION'S GATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Cast:
Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Jeff Goldblum, Juliette Lewis, Todd Louiso, Scott Elrod, Patrick Wilson
Writing Credits:
Allan Loeb, Jeffrey Eugenides (short story, "Baster")

Tagline:
The most unexpected comedy ever conceived.

Synopsis:
Jennifer Aniston stars alongside Jason Bateman in this offbeat comedy as Kassie, a smart, fun-loving single woman who, despite her neurotic best friend Wally’s (Bateman) objections, decides it’s time to have a baby – even if it means doing it herself ... with a little help from a charming sperm donor (Patrick Wilson). But, unbeknownst to her, Kassie’s plans go awry because of a last-minute switch that isn’t discovered until seven years later ... when Wally gets acquainted with Kassie’s cute – though slightly neurotic – son. From the people behind Little Miss Sunshine and Juno comes The Switch.

Box Office:
Budget
$19 million.
Opening Weekend
$8.436 million on 2012 screens.
Domestic Gross
$27.758 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English PCM Stereo
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 3/15/2011

Bonus:
• “The Switch Conceived” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes and Alternate Ending with Optional Introductions
• Bloopers
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Switch [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 9, 2011)

With 2010’s The Switch, we get a romantic comedy that looks at the plight of the late-30s/early-40s unmarried woman who wants a child. Kassie Larson (Jennifer Aniston) seeks parenthood but can’t seem to locate a good man with whom to reproduce. She takes her fate into her own hands and goes the sperm donor route.

Kassie’s long-time best pal Wally Mars (Jason Bateman) clearly maintains a crush on her, but he’s never been able to push the relationship past the platonic. He doesn’t care for her decision to get artificially inseminated, especially when he meets the Mr. Perfect donor, Roland (Patrick Wilson).

Kassie has a party to celebrate her date with the turkey baster, and a miserable Wally gets rip-roaring drunk. Along the way, he accidentally spills the jar of Roland’s semen and decides to replace it with his own. The Wally/Kassie friendship soon goes fairly kaput, as she feels New York isn’t a good environment for a kid and she moves to the Midwest.

Fast-forward seven years and Kassie comes back to the Big Apple with her son Sebastian (Thomas Robinson). Due to his severe inebriation, Wally doesn’t really remember his sperm donation, but when he meets Sebastian, the memories begin to return. This leads to some potential entanglements as he tries to tell Kassie he seems to be the real dad, especially because Kassie pushes toward a relationship with a now single Roland.

I went into The Switch with high hopes. While Bateman and Aniston haven’t been able to launch really successful movie careers, they’re both appealing actors, and the movie’s concept offered potential fun.

At times it manages to exploit its possibilities, but the film disappoints more than it delights. It doesn’t do this in a severe way, so I find it tough to conjure any significant criticisms of the flick. After all, it manages to run through its 101 minutes in a reasonably entertaining manner.

And yet, it just feels like something’s missing. Perhaps the biggest indication that it lacks much flair comes from the fact that I saw it theatrically last summer but I almost totally forgot this screening. When I got an e-mail with the press release, I thought, “hey, that sounds interesting” – only later did I realize I’d already seen the movie!

Granted, you can interpret some of that as a) the ridiculous number of movies I watch each year, and b) my middle-aged memory lapses. However, I don’t know if I’ve ever forgotten the existence of a movie I paid $10 to see – and forgotten it only six months later. When I got the flick up and running on my Blu-ray player, memories came back, but I still think it’s somewhat troubling that the film so completely departed my memory over such a short period of time.

Now that I’ve seen it again, I realize why I forgot it: the movie’s pretty dull. Not that it lacks any charms, most of which come from the cast. Though they don’t really connect as a couple, Bateman and Aniston create decent enough characters, so they help keep us reasonably involved.

And we also get a very nice supporting turn from Jeff Goldblum. Without question, Goldblum has always been something of a one-note character, as his quirky delivery defines him.

However, Goldblum presents such an awesome one-note that I don’t mind the lack of variety. He plays Wally’s boss with so much playful verve that Goldblum’s shtick feels surprisingly fresh. We’ve not seen much of Goldblum on the big screen for a while, so maybe I’m so happy to see him because he’s not worn out his welcome. Whatever the case, he lights up the screen when he appears and delivers a delightful performance.

On the negative side, Robinson’s turn as Sebastian creates a hole in the emotional drama. I do hate to slam such a young actor, but the kid really does lack the goods to make Sebastian more than a one-note character. He feels overly directed as he tries to mimic Bateman, so while Wally falls for Sebastian, we don’t; we find ourselves too distanced from the kid due to his unnatural, stiff performance.

No matter who played Sebastian, however, The Switch would end up as a lackluster movie. No, it’s not a bad or unpleasant experience, but it never quite comes together in the desired manner. It’s mediocre romantic comedy.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C

The Switch appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Overall, this was a positive image.

Only a smidgen of softness ever interfered with the presentation. I noticed a few slightly ill-defined shots, but most of the movie displayed solid clarity and delineation. Jagged edges and moiré effects failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also stayed away from this clean image.

In terms of palette, Switch went with tones affected by a teal impression or a warm orange glow. That’s typical for many modern Hollywood flicks, but the bluish tinge didn’t distract or become overwhelming. Overall, the hues were fine and full. Blacks showed good depth, while low-light shots boasted nice clarity. Though I thought the image was a little below “A”-level standards, it still was more than satisfying.

Don’t expect much more than a standard romantic comedy mix from the disc’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, though a few minor exceptions occurred. Subway sequences demonstrated nice breadth, while street scenes also gave us decent sense of place. Otherwise, the audio tended to be pretty restrained, so we didn’t get a lot of involvement and activity. This was fine for a movie of this sort, however, so the low-key soundfield wasn’t a detriment.

Audio quality was perfectly acceptable. Speech showed nice clarity and naturalism, and music was reasonably distinctive and dynamic. Effects lacked much to stand out, but they appeared accurate, and they showed mild punch when necessary. All of this seemed good enough for a “B-“.

One odd glitch occurred as I watched the movie. When the flick hit a new chapter, the timeline info appeared at the bottom of the screen. I don’t know if I accidentally activated this somehow – not that I’ve ever seen an option of this sort – but it became a distraction. Though the chapter info only popped up for a few seconds, it still was a bit annoying.

Only a handful of extras show up here. A featurette called The Switch Conceived runs 14 minutes, 37 seconds and includes comments from directors Will Speck and Josh Gordon, writer Allen Loeb, producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa and actors Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Juliette Lewis, Jeff Goldblum, Thomas Robinson and Patrick Wilson. “Conceived” looks at the project’s roots and development, script, story and tone, cast and performances, the work of the directors, shooting in New York, and general thoughts. This is a pretty general program; it has some decent notes, but don’t expect a lot of detail.

Next we nine Deleted Scenes and an Alternate Ending. Taken together via “Play All”, they fill 25 minutes, seven seconds. Some of these offer different edits of existing scenes, such as those on the subway. We also get additional character moments, most of which revolve around Wally and Kassie. A few of these are reasonably entertaining, but none of them present lost gold.

As for the alternate ending, it throws in a pretty big twist. I won’t say it’s a good twist, but it’s not a bad one, either. Still, the existing ending is fine, so I don’t think this one would’ve been any better.

When we watch the scenes, we get non-optional introductions from directors Speck and Gordon. They tell us aspects of the shoot and let us know why they cut the sequences. They’re fun and informative; I wish they’d given us a full commentary.

Finally, we locate a Blooper Reel. This package runs three minutes, 45 seconds and presents a pretty standard collection of silliness and mistakes. At least we get a few improv lines, so they spice up the package a bit.

The disc opens with ads for The Lincoln Lawyer, From Prada to Nada, and Killers. These appear under Also from Lionsgate as well, but we get no trailer for Switch.

With a fun premise and a good cast, The Switch has potential to be a winning romantic comedy. Unfortunately, it just feels flat. Though it’s not an unpleasant 101 minutes, it’s also rather forgettable. The Blu-ray boasts very good visuals, perfectly adequate audio and a small collection of supplements. While I think the Blu-ray presents the movie well, the flick itself seems pretty mediocre.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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