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The Switch

For once, a man heads a rom-com, but wacky desperation remains

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Hollywood may finally be hearing my pleas: If there must be romantic comedies with charmingly neurotic protagonists who take 90 minutes to get their oh-so-cute shizz together, can't they sometimes be the guy? That's the case in Josh Gordon and Will Speck's film, which makes Wally (Jason Bateman), a nice-guy Manhattan financier, both the emotional center of the film and the one who does desperately kooky things out of unrequited love.

Wally secretly pines for Kassie (Jennifer Aniston, perfectly coiffed and burnished), who is planning a child with an approved sperm donor (Patrick Wilson). But Wally, in a drunken moment of bathos, substitutes his sperm into the ... uh ... specimen cup -- then conveniently forgets about it. Until seven years later, when Kassie returns from some equally convenient exile in Minnesota, with her adorably neurotic moppet who acts -- surprise! -- just like Wally.

Having a man on the rom-com journey does mean less frantic, shrieky behavior. (It also means less chatter about shoes and cupcakes.) And Bateman finds some sweet spots in this otherwise unbelievable tale; Aniston, while fine, mostly reads as "necessary plot point." Ultimately, having a man debase himself for a wedding ring is a small improvement, but The Switch is still tried-and-true rom-com piffle.

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