Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Switch. A Review.

  This is a RomCom that has something most of them don't--grit. I really liked this movie.  And immediately after making that assessment I was concerned that I was about to start my period.  But I wasn't, so I must have actually like it.  Who'da thought?
     It had grit and heart, in the perfect amounts.  Jason Bateman is a delight as the neurotic lead man.  And damn it all, Jennifer Aniston is good.  Somehow she pulls off being beautiful and perfect without making me hate her.  Also, that damn kid.  I'm not a kid person, but the kid who plays the kid is adorable; melt all of your insides with a crooked head-tilt adorable.
     I remained skeptical about the plot point that Wally (Bateman) didn't remember the whole escapade of switching the sample.  It seemed like a lot for him to not remember and then to be able to piece together 7 years later.  At the same time, somehow Bateman made it work and it made the character someone to root for.  Had he maliciously destroyed the sample and replaced it with his own and then kept the secret for 7 years, he would have been a huge asshole with no redeeming qualities.  This is even more evident when watching the deleted scenes and the directors say "when it was more malicious, it took away his sympathy."
     It took place in New York City, and I'm partial to that.  Again, we learn in the DVD extras, they actually shot it in NYC and that added to its realness.  Everything was shot on location; it was all practical with real lighting and flags and subways.  It was lit darker than most comedies--there was more pointed, almost noir light, less soft light-the-shit-out-of-everything light.  The city's grit came through in the film, and the darkness under the comedy mixed with the grit of the city quite well. I got stuck o the detail that during a subway scene they show an interior of an A train, then an interior of the 2. But really, this is minor and I should let it go.  It's not impossible that they got on a A and switched to the 2.  Maybe they were on their way home from the Cloisters. Anyway--
     There was voice-over, of which I'm usually not a fan, however, it was used correctly.  And damn it, they got the show-not-tell bits right.  The audience knew what was happening because they were showing us, not because anyone was telling us.  The voice over was mostly as a bookend anyway, and since it was Jason Bateman's voice, it was a welcome tone.
     I mentioned its heart, and I think it came from Wally and Sebastian.  They didn't change for each other, and I think that's just great. Wally talked to Sebastian just as he would talk to anyone. He wasn't a douche to Sebastian, like a lot of adults are to kids.
    As I said in the beginning, it was a RomCom.  So sure, we're pretty sure these two are going to end up together. But good for everyone involved--it was at the end, where it belonged.  And Kassie's proposal acceptance was the best I've ever heard. There weren't a lot of surprises with the film.  I bet most people wouldn't like it.  It's small and nuanced but packaged as big and hilarious.  But that doesn't mean it wasn't worth watching.  It was a RomCom for a slightly more cynical audience, which is to say, me.

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