WORLD’s 2018 Books of the Year
Family planning goes awry in The Switch, a twisted but humorous take on the moral and emotional pitfalls of artificial insemination that explores, in surprisingly heartfelt ways, the need for deep and meaningful relationships.
Wally Mars (Jason Bateman) and Kassie Larson (Jennifer Aniston) have been best friends for six years, so when Kassie decides she wants a baby without waiting any longer for the right man, she asks Wally to help her find the right sperm donor. Feeling slighted that Kassie did not ask for his seed, Wally attempts to sabotage her search, leading to a friend "timeout." Kassie eventually makes peace with Wally and invites him to her artificial insemination party. The less said about that, the better, except to note that Kassie gets pregnant and decides to move from New York to Minnesota, where she believes she can provide a better family life for her child.
Seven years later, Kassie moves back to New York and reconnects with Wally, who is still plugging away at his investment analyst position. His need to connect with others drives the second act. Kassie worries that her son's peers view him as a science experiment, so she decides, hesitantly, to seek a relationship with the supposed donor, who is recently divorced. Her son Sebastian (Thomas Robinson) collects picture frames with the stock model photos still in them, pretending that one photo is his paternal grandfather and another is his dad's younger brother. Wally, meanwhile, begins to establish a relationship with Sebastian, seeing some of his own neuroses in his best friend's son, along with the boy's obvious desire for a father figure.
Though The Switch (PG-13) can be nauseatingly crass at times, especially in the first act, it offers a revealing look at modern-day sexual mores-how human beings use unnatural means to find happiness, and how God can use their poor decisions for His own glorious ends.
-Michael Leaser is editor of FilmGrace and an associate of The Clapham Group