Filming began in March 2009, and ended in May 2009. Re-shoots took place in October 2009. Upon its release, The Switch received mixed reviews from critics, who praised its premise and the performances of its cast but felt that the plot was formulaic. The Switch was the last Miramax film to be distributed by Disney before the former was sold to Filmyard Holdings on December 3, 2010.
30-something Kassie Larson (Jennifer Aniston) is single, hasn't found love yet, and decides she wants to have a baby. Despite the objections of her neurotic long-time best friend Wally Mars (Jason Bateman), she chooses to do so alone because she can't wait any longer. She also wants a face-to-face sperm donor, disdaining using a sperm bank. Wally suggests he be the donor, but Kassie sees him as a bit too neurotic, pessimistic, and self-absorbed, and besides, as best friends, "that would be weird." Wally has always had feelings for Kassie, and they dated six years ago, but his friend Leonard (Jeff Goldblum) points out he missed his chance when she put him in the "friend zone."
Kassie selects as sperm donor a handsome and charming (and married) assistant professor, Roland (Patrick Wilson). Kassie organizes an "insemination party", where Wally meets Roland and takes an instant dislike to him. Roland is then called upon and produces his sperm in the bathroom, leaving it in a sample cup. Wally uses the bathroom and sees the sample. Drunk and doped up after taking a pill provided him at the party by Kassie's friend, Debbie (Juliette Lewis), and not liking the idea of Kassie being inseminated with this sperm, Wally plays with the cup and accidentally spills it into the sink. Panicking, he replaces the sperm with his own. The next day at work, still hungover, he remembers nothing. The insemination is successful. Wally is then upset when Kassie tells him she is returning to her family home in Minnesota, as she thinks that would be a better environment to raise a child in, instead of New York City. She leaves, and Wally maintains a non-fulfilling, dreary existence.
Seven years later, Kassie returns to New York along with precocious-but-neurotic son Sebastian (Thomas Robinson). She wants to reconnect with Wally, and is eager to introduce her son to him. After an awkward first meeting, Wally eventually forms a bond with this loveable and seemingly mini-version of himself, and Sebastian starts to become close to Wally, but the bad news is that Roland is in the picture too: Kassie has started dating him because he is now divorced and, as she thinks he is Sebastian's father, and a nice guy, maybe it would work.
After Wally notices the similarities between himself and Sebastian, and after talking to his friend Leonard, Wally realizes what happened seven years earlier. Just before Roland proposes to Kassie, Wally reveals to Kassie that Sebastian is his son, along with his true feelings for her. She is shocked and angry and does not want to see him again. Some time passes, and one day, as he is leaving work, Wally finds Kassie waiting for him on the street outside his office building. She tells him Sebastian really misses him and needs him. Wally admits he misses and needs Sebastian too. Kassie then discloses she isn't with Roland any longer, and that she loves him, even with all of his idiosyncrasies. Wally proposes to her, Kassie accepts, and they kiss. The final scene shows a happily married Wally and Kassie throwing Sebastian's eighth birthday party.Jennifer Aniston as Kassie Larson
Jason Bateman as Wally Mars
Thomas Robinson as Sebastian Larson
Bryce Robinson as older Sebastian
Patrick Wilson as Roland Nilson
Juliette Lewis as Debbie Epstein
Jeff Goldblum as Leonard
Caroline Dhavernas as Pauline
Scott Elrod as Declan
Diane Sawyer as herself (cameo)
Aniston revealed in the DVD 'extras' that she had known Bateman since she was 25, and the producers and directors noted their good chemistry in working together.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported that 51% of critics gave the film a positive rating, based on 148 reviews, with an average score of 5.5/10. Its consensus states "The Switch has an interesting premise and a charming cast; unfortunately, it also has a trite script that hews too close to tired rom-com formulas." On Metacritic, which uses a normalized rating system, the film holds a 52/100 rating, based on 30 reviews, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Aniston was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Actress for her performance in the film.
Ann Hornaday, writing for the Washington Post gave The Switch three out of four stars. She wrote that "this disarmingly winning comedy turns into a warm, quirkily observant film, strengthened by some appealing performances and a low-key, easygoing vibe. Less reminiscent of the dreadful comedy The Back-up Plan than 2002's lovely About a Boy, this adaptation of a Jeffrey Eugenides story takes viewers down a path that, while by no means of least resistance, possesses a gratifying share of surprises." Los Angeles Times author Betsy Sharkey noted that the film "is what you might call a Bate-and-switch affair. More his journey than hers, more satire than slapstick, the film is that rare example of rom-com about men, which turns out to be a nice switch indeed." She also compared it to About a Boy and Lisa Cholodenko's 2010 film The Kids Are All Right, adding: "Though the film never quite rises to the level of either, the filmmakers show enough restraint to keep things interesting, Aniston and Bateman keep things both light and dark when they should, and Robinson's Sebastian steals everyone's heart."
Michael Phillips of the Chicago Tribune remarked that while "Jennifer Aniston gets top billing, the character played by Jason Bateman sets the tone." He found that "around the halfway point it starts getting interesting and the people who put it together are at least working in a realm of reasonable intelligence and wit and respect for the audience. I wish it were great, but 'pretty good' puts it ahead of plenty of recent romantic comedies." Similarly, Andrew O'Hehir from Salon.com wrote, "here comes the surprise: It's peculiar, and pretty good! Taken on its own terms, it's a light, sweet, curiously enjoyable misfit romance, whose real star is not Aniston but her magnificently awkward Lothario, Jason Bateman." Owen Gleiberman from Entertainment Weekly gave the film a B rating and called it "a pleasant surprise. It's a by-the-numbers movie, but the dots that get connected feel new."
Less enthusiastic with the film, Detroit News's Tom Long wrote that "it's not a bad film, really, just sort of average. But Bateman is so good in it – natural, funny, yet full of real emotion – that you immediately want to see him again in a better film." Barely impressed, Joe Neumaier of New York Daily News called the film a "Judd Apatow lite, Farrelly brothers special blend. Just call it When Harry Met Sally and Her Ovum. Andrew Barker from Variety felt that The Switch was "an unfunny, manipulative romance about two unlikable people and their prop of a son [...] The pic mangles the premise of its source material."
Even though it gained mixed to lukewarm reviews from critics, The Switch proved to be a moderate financial success. Budgeted at $19 million, it grossed $49.8 million worldwide, 55.7% of which came from its domestic run. 91 days in US theatres, it opened in 2,012 theaters and was ranked seventh after its opening weekend, averaging $4,193 per venue. On January 18, 2011, Maple Pictures released the film on DVD and Blu-ray in Canada, while Lionsgate released it in the United States on March 15, 2011. It grossed $7.7 million in US DVD sales.