The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Miramax - 2010
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 101 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Starring: Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jeff Goldblum, Juliette Lewis, Patrick Wilson, Thomas Robinson
Directed by: Josh Gordon & Will Speck
Music by: Alex Wurman
Written by: Allan Loeb
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 15, 2011
"The most unexpected comedy ever conceived"
Kassie (Aniston) is 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 herselfwith a little help from a charming sperm donor (Wilson). But, unbeknownst to her, Kassie's plans go awry because of a last-minute switch that isn't discovered until seven years laterwhen Wally gets acquainted with Kassie's cute - though slightly neurotic - son.
It seems that Jennifer Aniston has become readily identified with the romantic comedy genre and seeing her presence in a film seems to elicit the same typical Jennifer Aniston movie reaction. At first glance The Switch appears to be a straight forward romantic comedy. After watching it I would say that genre fans hoping for a fulfilling romance will find it bland and shallow. I think it would be more appropriately described as a dramedy. What I was pleasantly surprised at was how gratifying a drama it turned out to be. The plot revolves around Wally (Bateman) a sardonic, mildly neurotic guy with a penchant for hypochondria. Wally has little use for pretty much everyone other than long time best friend Kassie (Aniston) and work buddy Leonard (Goldblum). Things get a little weird for Wally when Kassie decides that her biological clock is running out and she wants to have a baby. She asks him to help her find a suitable sperm donor and quickly dismisses him as a candidate because of his quirky nature.
When she finds Roland (Wilson) the perfect donor her friend Debbie (Lewis) throws her a getting pregnant (artificial insemination) party during which Roland will make his contribution. During the party, Wally, clearly upset over the whole idea, gets plastered, finds the sample in the bathroom, and switches Roland's deposit with his own, and afterward (the following day) doesn't recall the evening's events. Kassie becomes pregnant and decides that moving out of New York would be best for raising her child. Seven years goes by and Kassie, with a new job offer in one hand and 6 year old son Sebastian in the other, moves back to New York. She and Wally rekindle their friendship. After meeting and spending some time with Sebastian Wally notices that they seem to have quite a bit in common. That coupled along with sketchy remnants from his drunken stupor that fateful night seven years before bring Wally to question Sebastian's paternity. Wally and Sebastian grow closer and share a bond of the type than can only come from kinship. Wally finds himself struggling with this discovery and what it could do to his friendship with Kassie as well as the realization that he has deeper feelings for her than he has been willing to admit.
This film gets decidedly better once Sebastian comes into the mix. Thomas Robinson is perfectly cast in this role as his doe eyed glances, cherub like charisma and spirited acting make him a perfect scene stealer. Watching him and Jason Bateman together is what sells this film for me. Jason Bateman has come a long way since Teen Wolf Too. He has this sort of venerable charm and loquacious wit that works well for him. Jennifer Aniston is Jennifer Aniston which is a good thing and I'm happy to see Jeff Goldblum appearing in more films. As the story presses on it takes a derivative turn that isn't unexpected but feels like a copout nonetheless. In spite of its shortcomings I couldn't help but like this movie. Those expecting of fluffy romantic comedy will probably be disappointed but hang in there because you might just find in addition to some well place humor your heart strings might get a little tug from The Switch.
The rating is for mature thematic content including dialogue, some nudity, drug use and language.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
The Switch comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.8 Mbps.
This video presentation offers little in the way of high Gloss, razor sharp imagery but it seems to represent the film's elements well. Primary colors appear satisfying while the remaining spectrum colors intentionally impart a cooler visual aesthetic. Complexions are texturally descriptive with lifelike tonality that varies only slightly among the cast. Resolution is very good although the film's inherently softer elements leave some wide angle shots with smoother lines and average delineation. Close ups and mid level shots are more revealing of the resolvable detail that draws out subtle textures in the people and objects within the frame. Contrast is on the money and blacks are stable but not overly dynamic in appearance. This isn't really a problem as there are few scenes that utilize low level material where this is consistently apparent. I saw no overt signs of video anomalies or compression related artifacts and thought this appeared to be a pristine quality encoding.
The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack had no trouble rendering clear and well articulated dialogue. Sound effects had estimable clarity and depth so that they sounded full bodied and aurally satisfying. This is not a film that requires heavy use of surround sound to deliver its message but it does rely on the entire soundstage for proper atmosphere and low frequency detail from time to time. The mix excels at creating the right sounds at the right levels and placing them appropriately in the sound field's acoustic environment. Low frequency effects are used to deliver deep impact when called for and to add solidity to the film's music. I thought that it sounded just fine.
- (HD) The Switch Conceived - 14 minute making of featurette
- (HD) 9 deleted scenes + alternate ending with introduction by co-directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck
- (HD) 3 minute blooper reel
Inspired by Jeffrey Eugenides' short story The Baster, The Switch is an entertaining dramedy that proved to be better than anticipated thanks to a heartwarming story and well placed cast. It comes to Blu-ray from LionsGate featuring excellent high definition video and crystal clear DTS-HD Master Audio sound. The middling supplemental package features a conventional making of featurette, deleted scenes and a mildly entertaining blooper reel. I am not so sure that this warrants a purchase however it's a feel good movie that is worth seeing so toss it in your rental queue and take it for a spin.
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