Shooting Blanks

Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston star in limp artificial insemination comedy

The disappointing, tonally discordant artificial insemination romantic comedy The Switch (by the Blades of Glory directing team of Josh Gordon and Will Speck) shoots more blanks than laughs. Jason Bateman plays a neurotic, self-absorbed Manhattanite (is there any other kind?) whose life is turned upside down when he discovers that he’s the biological dad of platonic BFF Jennifer Aniston’s chip-off-the-old-block six-year-old son (scene stealer Thomas Robinson). Based on a 1996 New Yorker short story by Pulitzer-winning author Jeffrey Eugenides, the film squanders the charm of its two appealing leads by forcing them to behave in the most obtuse, off-putting fashion imaginable. You know that a rom-com is in serious trouble when the audience doesn’t care whether the central couple ever gets together or not. For poor Aniston, this makes three clunkers in a row (after the equally moribund The Bounty Hunter and Love Happens). Unless she gets her big-screen career back on track PDQ, she might want to reconsider that Friends reunion movie. --Milan Paurich