Which is dangerous because, you know, Aniston is such a role model for our youth.
The controversy all sounds a little bit like “Murphy Brown 2.0” to me. But actually, that’s not the only familiar thing about “The Switch.” The truly dusty cliché it drags out again is the cute couple who don’t, you know, think-of-each-other-like-that.
Until, of course, they do.
There are a lot of movie standbys I don’t care for (the cut-to-pet-for-a-reaction-shot is another one — and that’s here too), but the I-never-saw-you-this-way-before one always felt awfully contrived. (The reason this guy is a non-starter? He wears ugly sweaters. Next!)
And that gimmick is all this movie has.
Well, not quite all. It has Jason Bateman as the guy in those reprehensible woolens, and he does an honest, vulnerable job as a perfectly decent guy (who does one fairly unbelievable thing). It also has young Thomas Robinson as the eventual Aniston progeny, who is cute in an overwritten role.
“Overwritten” is not a problem that the other characters share.
Jeff Goldblum and Juliette Lewis have what are, usually, the best parts in a romantic comedy – the main characters’ confidantes — but neither of them gets any good lines. That they get laughs at all – and they’re the only two who do — is a tribute to their hard work.
Aniston, making a small recovery from the horrendous “The Bounty Hunter,” looks pert and pretty (she may be the best-groomed woman in Hollywood — I picture flights of stylists hovering around her like cartoon bluebirds, each one armed with a hot comb and a pumice stone). But who is she playing, besides a desperate-to-get-pregnant woman?
We’re told she’s from Minnesota. Great. We’re told she has a big job on TV (and see her once, backstage at “The Charlie Rose Show,” gossiping with a friend). But what does she really do? What’s her family like? What are her fears? What are her passions?
Who knows? She wants a baby. Her clock is ticking. What else do you need to know?
Nothing, I guess, because, obviously that’s the point at which the filmmakers stopped thinking about her. She’s not a character, she’s a one-note plot device. (The co-directors last made the “Cavemen” TV series, and maybe it was a good fit.)
Bateman is good enough — and has been good enough for long enough — that you keep wishing he’d get his own movie to drive. And Goldblum and Lewis do so much heavy lifting with such little support you start to worry that they’re going to throw their backs out.
But “destructive”? Contributing to our nation’s moral decline? Don’t flatter it. “The Switch” is about as dangerous as an old Ralph Bellamy movie. And not quite as much fun.