A loose adaptation of a Jeffrey Eugenides story called "Baster," The Switch stars Jennifer Aniston as Kassie, who, having failed to find a husband by age 40, informs her sad-sack best friend Wally (Jason Bateman) that she's on the hunt for a sperm donor. Though wholly devoted to Kassie, Wally doesn't have the genes of the blond, studly Roland (Patrick Wilson), whom Kassie hires to provide her baby-making "ingredient." Blackout-drunk, Wally hijacks the sperm cup, replacing Roland's high-quality DNA with his own. When Kassie returns to New York, seven years later, with her young son, Sebastian (Thomas Robinson, excellent), Wally can't help but notice the similarities between himself and the boy. The Switch's confident tone is not ha-ha funny; the sperm-switch scene is the closest it gets to slapstick, and despite its sympathy for the socially awkward, it avoids the halting comedy of discomfort that's currently trendy (The Office, Cyrus). Saddled with the responsibility of carrying the film, Bateman acquits himself admirably by playing it straight, developing a genuinely convincing and affecting chemistry with Robinson and taking his character's repression seriously. There are a lot of beauty-filtered close-ups of Aniston, looking every bit the flawless yoga goddess with lush hair the same golden tone as her tanned skin, Forever 30 even though her character would logically be in her late 40s by the film's end. The Switch is generally uninterested in who Kassie actually is.
Aniston and Bateman brush up on their Eugenides.
Opens at Metro and other theaters, Fri., Aug. 20. Rated PG-13. 101 minutes.