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Movie Reviews
by Todd Pearage

Switch, The (3/15/2011)


Rated PG-13 for mature thematic content, sexual material including dialogue, some nudity, drug use and language.

Starring Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Patrick Wilson, Jeff Goldblum and Juliette Lewis

Directed by Will Speck and Josh Gordon (Blades of Glory)


Todd's Rating: Rental

The Switch is a surprisingly likeable relationship comedy-drama.

Directed by Josh Gordon and Will Speck, The Switch stars Jason Bateman as Wally, whose best friend Kassie (Jennifer Aniston) announces that she's decided to have a baby via an attractive sperm donor (Patrick Wilson as Roland). Wally feels put out that Kassie doesn't ask him, not least because he's always had a crush on her, but things go horribly wrong when he accidentally destroys Roland's sperm sample and drunkenly substitutes his own.

Kassie then conveniently relocates to another city, only to reappear seven years later with a young boy (Thomas Robinson as Sebastian) who looks and acts in a suspiciously familiar way. Realizing (seven years too late) what must have happened, Wally has to decide whether to finally come clean to Kassie, but things are further complicated when she starts dating newly-single Roland, who she still thinks is Sebastian's father.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I love Jason Bateman. Once again he is extremely likeable despite not having a whole lot to work with. In fact, if Wally was played by any one of a dozen other actors this truly would have been a forgettable film. What saves it is the touching relationship between Bateman and young Thomas Robinson. They made me laugh and even tugged on my heart strings a little. I’m also a fan of Jennifer Aniston. From her days on Friends to her leading roles in movies like: Marley & Me and The Break-Up, she always delivers a great performance.

Then there's the supporting cast that includes Juliette Lewis and Jeff Goldblum. Unfortunately I dislike them almost as much as I like Bateman and Aniston, but I managed to “suffer” through those scenes. I will admit that Goldblum got a big laugh when Wally tells him what he has done he just grimaces and says, “Oooh, that’s … ill-advised.”

The film's biggest problem is the plot. Between Wally's convenient seven year memory loss and…well the whole discussion about sperm and who did what with it.

The Switch could have been funnier, but still earns a Rental score mostly because of the cast.


SHOULD KIDS SEE IT?
This PG-13 rating for mature thematic content, sexual material including dialogue, some nudity, drug use and language could have easily been an R. There is one scene where we see the backside of a nude actor in a play and a blurred or out of focus view of his front side. Then there is the conversations about sex and sperm that go throughout most of them film. I wouldn’t want my 13 year old to watch it.


Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

Q: What’s the message/theme of this movie?

A: In one particular scene Sebastian shows Wally his collection of picture frames. Yeah he collects picture frames and keeps the pictures that come with them. He makes up stories about how those models are his family and friends. When Wally shares how his dad left him when he was a young boy, Sebastian gives him a picture frame.

What we see in that touching scene is how important family and friends are to us.

Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?
A: Jesus Christ gave the command to his disciples to “Love one another.” The truth is the Bible is full of “one another” commands. Here are a few to read and to think about our family and friends.
    John 15:12 - Love one another
    Romans 12:10 - Honor one another
    Romans 12:16 - Live in harmony with one another
    Romans 14:19 - Build up one another
    Romans 15:7 - Accept one another
    1 Corinthians 12:25 - Care for one another
    Galatians 5:13 - Serve one another in love
    Galatians 5:26 - Don’t provoke or envy one another
    Galatians 6:2 - Bear one another’s burdens
    Ephesians 4:32 - Be kind to one another
    Colossians 3:13 - Bear with each other and forgive one another
    1 Thessalonians 3:12 - Abound in love toward one another
    1 Thessalonians 4:18 - Comfort one another
    Hebrews 3:13 - Encourage one another
    Hebrews 10:24 - Stir up one another to love and good deeds
    James 4:11 - Don’t slander one another
    James 5:9 - Don’t bear grudges against one another
    James 5:16 - Confess your sins to one another
    1 John 3:11 - Love one another
As you read through that list does that remind you of your family and friends? Or are you tempted to run out and buy some picture frames so you can make up stories about how “those people” treat you?

Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?
A: Sebastian was able to make up characters and make up stories about how his “family and friends” treated him. Whenever he needed a new friend all he needed to do was to run out to Wal-Mart and buy a new frame. But you and I can’t do that. We live in the real world, and we need family and friends. So what can we do? Well first of all we need do our best to live out those verses so we can be godly friends and godly sons/daughters.

Secondly we need to use wisdom and discernment in choosing friends. 1 Corinthians 15:33 warns us, “Don't be fooled by those who say such things, for bad company corrupts good character.”

So what kind of friends do you have? Do they help you live out the “one another” verses?

Spend some time praying for your family and friends. And ask God to help you become the best son/daughter and friend you can be.



Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.



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