Making the Grades
Kassie Larson (Jennifer Aniston) is a particular shopper looking for a very specific item. What she wants must be the right color, exact size and project the proper personality. And it’s (hopefully) not returnable.
This single woman, who works at a New York City television studio, is intent on having a baby. To do so she has to concede the fact a male has to be involved—at least at the beginning of the project. To find the perfect donor for her custom-made child Kassie considers her circle of friends… and her neurotic best buddy Wally (Jason Bateman) does not make the list.
Distraught, not only at her decision to mother a child solo but also with her selection of a risk-taking, athletic and handsome guy named Roland (Patrick Wilson), Wally attends her"conception party.” Wearing his usual worried and downtrodden face, the rejected pal indulges his grief with the celebration’s free-flowing booze. Before the bash is over, the inebriated bungler manages to accidentally dump the chosen donor’s specimen down the bathroom sink. In a desperate attempt to make things right Wally replaces it with his own. The next day he awakes with a massive hangover, conveniently unable to remember a thing.
Fast-forward seven years. Kassie is returning to NYC after spending her pregnancy and her son’s preschool time in Minnesota (where it’s supposedly easier to raise a child). Now, with young Sebastian (Thomas Robinson) in tow, she again meets up with Wally (whose life has been on pause since she left). While it is difficult to tell if this reunion has sparked a desire for a romantic relationship, there is no question that the more time "Uncle Wally" spends with Sebastian, the closer he and the boy become. And we know it is just a matter of time before some convenient plot twist will spill the truth to Kassie about the little tyke’s parentage.
Obviously this film contains mature themes and abundant discussions surrounding the mechanics of conception, usually handled in a flippant manner. Although Wally’s solution to his moment of indiscretion in the bathroom is not portrayed in detail, parents will still need to be prepared to explain what has taken place. The movie also features frequent alcohol use, mild profanities, references to deity and a glimpse of a very violent cartoon entertaining a youngster.
The romance in this comedy is clumsy and awkward too. Because neither Wally nor Roland offer much magnetism, the audience is likely to be ambivalent about the outcome of the story. And there likely won’t be any affection lost over the heroine either. Regardless of your position on the ethics of artificial insemination and single parenthood, the character of Kassie comes across as merely selfish as she vacillates between decisions like she’s plucking daisy petals. Considering how serious and life affecting her choices are, its a safe guess most family viewers will be feeling “Love me not’ rather than “Love me” about this script.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Switch.
Sebastian collects photo frames with stock photos of families displayed in them. He imagines that the people are his family members. What is he yearning for? Do you think this is an accurate portrayal of a child in this circumstance? What are the emotional costs for a child conceived in these circumstances?