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The Switch



e, Jennifer Aniston ("The Bounty Hunter") stars as Kassie Larson, an unmarried career woman, in, where else, New York. Her best guy-friend is Wally Mars (Jason Bateman, "Couples Retreat"), a decent, if neurotic guy. We know Wally loves Kassie from the get-go, but he doesn't find out until the last reel.

Kassie decides that she needs to be a mom, so instead of adopting one of the millions of kids in the world who need a break, she opts for artificial insemination using a married professor named Roland (Patrick Wilson, "The A-Team") as the donor. This messes with Wally who, while drunk, substitutes his semen for Roland's, then forgets about it for seven years while Kassie is raising her son, Sebastian (Thomas Robinson), in Minnesota. Don't ask.

By the time Kassie returns to New York, Roland has gotten a divorce and, rebounding, starts wooing the mother of his son. He's an OK guy, a little pushy and nothing like Sebastian, but he's not a villain. He's just as confused as everyone else in the movie "? and in the audience, who's trying to suspend their disbelief long enough to make these caricatures into real people.

Of course, Kassie and Wally each have a best friend of their own gender. Kassie's is Debbie (Juliette Lewis, "Whip It") and Wally's is his boss, Leonard (Jeff Goldblum, TV's "Law and Order: Criminal Intent").

Yes, these actors were the leads in "Natural Born Killers" and "The Fly," and now they've been reduced to playing supporting roles in a lightweight Aniston dramedy. Hollywood is such a bitch.

The only reason to see "The Switch" is Bateman, who continues being too good for the films in which he's cast. He could be the next Jack Lemmon if he could avoid hack directors-for-hire like Josh Gordon and Will Speck ("Blades of Glory") and instead work with someone who knew how to develop his potential. In this picture, his work with young Robinson is a marvel, reminiscent of Hugh Grant's revelatory turn with Nicholas Hoult in "About a Boy."

Aniston's appeal continues to elude me. Are we still supposed to be feeling sorry for her because of that Brad Pitt thing? Let's all get over it, shall we? 


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