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Now in our eleventh calendar year!
PCR #543 (Vol. 11, No. 34). This edition is for the week of August 16--24, 2010.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Switch"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

theater seats

"The Switch"  by Mike Smith
Will's 2009 South Florida Adventure: Part One  by William Moriaty
Series Retrospective: Legends of the Superheroes  by ED Tucker
Woking  by Jason Fetters
Movie Notes .... .... .... .... .... .... .... .... Mike's Record Shelf  by Mike Smith

Starring: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston and Patrick Wilson
Directed by: Josh Gordon and Will Speck
Rated: PG 13
Running Time: 1 hour 44 mins

It’s funny how sometimes television stars make it in films. In the 1950s and 60s, television shows were full of talent. Legends like Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Charlton Heston, Steve McQueen and others made it to the big screen via the small screen. More recently, actors like John Travolta and George Clooney have translated their popularity into big box office. But for those that make it, there are scores of those that don’t. Chevy Chase is a good pick here. Yes, he had some success with the “Vacation” and “Fletch” films but besides that, most of his popular fare have co-starred other stars. David Caruso comes to mind as well. So does Tom Selleck, though he has maintained a successful, not spectacular career (if only CBS had given him the time to star in “Raiders of the Lost Ark”). I’m mentioning this because the stars of “The Switch” seem to be on the right track.

New York City, seven years ago. Kassie (Aniston) has decided to share a big secret with her former boyfriend, now best friend, Wally (Bateman). Tired of waiting for Mr. Right to start a family, she is going to go the artificial route and have a child. Despite all of his advice against it, Kassie seems firm in her convictions. She actually has a party to celebrate her upcoming conception, introducing her friends to Roland (Wilson) the donor she has selected. Roland is married but donating his “ingredients” for the money. But of course, things don’t always go as planned. Wally accidentally destroys Roland’s donation and, thinking of no other solution, substitutes his own. Happily with child, Kassie heads back to her hometown, ready for life with a new job and a new baby. Wally says goodbye, assuming he’ll never see Kassie again. Wrong!

Well written and full of great performances, “The Switch” is the best romantic comedy to come down the pike in some time. I must admit here that I’ve always had a kind of sub-conscious dislike for the cast of “Friends.” But I will also admit here that Aniston has slowly impressed me with her work the past few years, forsaking bigger and more showy parts for smaller roles that have been developed. She brings a quiet toughness to Kassie, one that she will need as her life progresses. Bateman, another import from the world of television, also does well here. Wally is a very complex man, confident in some things and very hesitant in others. He also has an annoying habit of moaning when he eats. Not in pain, mind you. He just gives out a steady “Mmmmmmmm” when he’s really enjoying his meal. The supporting cast is equally good, with fine comic turns from Jeff Goldblum and Juliette Lewis. The discovery here is six-year-old Thomas Robinson, who plays Kassie’s son, Sebastian. A quiet boy who constantly diagnoses new ailments he thinks he may have, Sebastian’s big hobby is collecting picture frames (a quick word of advice: the photo that comes with the frame, usually actors taking part in a photo shoot, is the most valuable part of the frame). It’s almost hard to comprehend that young Mr. Robinson is making his film debut here. His performance rivals those of Justin Henry in “Kramer vs Kramer” and Haley Joel Osment in “The Sixth Sense.” I’m not predicting anything here but both Henry and Osment were Oscar nominated for their work.

Directors Gordon and Speck, who previously teamed up on Will Ferrell's “Blades of Glory,” have set a smooth pace to the film and the events flow easily on screen. A romantic comedy that’s both full of romance and laughs, on a scale of zero to four I give “The Switch”  

To comment on this or any other PCR article, please visit The Message Board. This week's movie review of "The Switch" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2010, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.