Film Corner!

Jennifer Aniston is really starting to piss me off.

In the last year, she's been in Management, in which Steve Zahn courts her via stalking, The Bounty Hunter, in which Gerard Buttfor courts her via kidnapping (but it totes doesn't count because he's "bringin' her in!"), has played a stalker herself on 30 Rock, and will star this summer in The Switch, where she plays a woman deceived into having her best friend's baby:

[Transcript below. With some additional commentary that I could not resist including.]

I am familiar with the "it's just art!" and "art happens in a void!" and "if she didn't make it, someone else would!" arguments, but no, no, and that doesn't absolve her of responsibility. I am also familiar with the more compelling "there aren't a shitload of great roles for women" argument, except that Jennifer Aniston is the EXECUTIVE PRODUCER of this hunk of garbage (as she was on Management), which means she's actually helping create these shitty vehicles for herself to star in.

Anyway, this particular shitty vehicle is categorized as a romantic comedy. In fact, its tagline is: "The most unexpected comedy ever conceived." Har har.

You may recall that I first wrote about this film when it was announced, back when it was called The Baster, and again when the production was explicitly seeking a fat female extra (among others) to be targets of ridicule in the film.

I said in my original post on the film, after reading the very dark and distressing Jeffrey Eugenides short story on which it is based, that I could not "begin to imagine how it could be made into a romantic comedy, or any kind of comedy at all," and despite the main character, Wally, being evidently rewritten as more of a doofus (in the short story, he switches the sperm sheerly out of spite), I stand by that contention, as I fail utterly to find humor in the deceit that is, in this trailer, called "hijacking Cassie's pregnancy," but is more rightly identified as "hijacking Cassie's body."

What I find most troubling, frankly, is the fact that the makers of this film realized that the story, as originally written, was too disturbing to be used as romantic comedy fodder, so they tried to "lighten it up" by making Bateman's disposal of the donor sperm "accidental" (though he was in the midst of contemplating dumping it out, anyway) and making his replacement of the donor sperm the desperate act of a silly drunkard rather than the nefarious act of a spiteful asshole. As if it really matters: The fact is, he knowingly conceals the information from the woman who is ostensibly his "best friend."

And apart from all the many, many contemptible aspects of the plot of this film (all of which I'm sure will be teased out in comments), the idea that STANDING THE SAME WAY or COVERING YOUR EARS AT A LOUD NOISE is some kind of UNCANNY SIMILARITY THAT CANNOT BE DENIED AS EVIDENCE OF GENETIC RELATION is so thoroughly stupid that I really hope there's a twist ending where it is revealed that one of Patrick Wilson's sperm must have been clinging to the lip of that sample cup and the kid is actually his after all and Jason Bateman is sentenced to serve a life sentence at a Reeducation Camp for the Criminally Asinine.

[H/T to Shaker mschicklet.]
[Scene of New York City, cutting to scene of Jennifer Aniston sitting in a restaurant with Jason Bateman. The music playing behind the conversation indicates that this a Zany Romp and you should be laughing at all these wacky comedic circumstances.]

Aniston: I would like you to be the first to know: I'm having a baby.

Bateman: You're pregnant?

Aniston: Not yet, but I'm working on it.

[Cut to Bateman opening an envelope containing an invitation reading "I'm Getting Pregnant Party! You're invited!" with a pink bottle of champagne. Little pink and blue sperm-shaped bits of confetti fall out around his feet.]

Bateman [in voiceover]: A party for insemination? Only Cassie would do it like this!

[Cut to Jason Bateman speaking to Patrick Wilson.]

Wilson: I'm Roland. The, uh, donor.

Bateman: Wally. I'm Cassie's best friend.

Wilson: Ah. [clinks his glass against Bateman's and grins] That's okay.

Text Onscreen: From the people who brought you Juno.

[Cut to Bateman and Aniston riding on the subway.]

Bateman: What's wrong with my sperm, by the way?

Aniston: You're…a little neurotic.

[Cut to Bateman in an office, talking to Jeff Goldblum, who appears to be his coworker, then to an image of Aniston hugging Bateman.]

Goldblum: You had your window with Cassie and you doomed it. She put you in the friend zone.

Text Onscreen: And Little Miss Sunshine.

[Cut to images of the aforementioned Insemination Party. Bateman is talking to Juliette Lewis.]

Bateman: So who does this?

Lewis: Will you relax? [holds up baster] This is how everybody's doing it these days.

Bateman [looking suspiciously at baster]: Shouldn't that be cleaned or something?

Lewis: I'm messing with you! [rubs baster on Bateman's face]

Bateman: Debbie, knock that off.

[Cut to Bateman drinking, spilling food on himself, acting drunk and making Aniston irritated as the party goes on.]

Anison [in voiceover]: Wally, I hate it when you drink! You lose total control.

[Cut to Bateman in bathroom, splashing water on his face; he notices cup of sperm sitting on the counter with Roland's name on it; he runs the water in the sink and acts as though he's going to dump out the sperm, but in a TOTES FUNNY way, making airplane noises; there is a knock at the door, which startles him, and he drops the cup into the sink; he picks up the now-empty cup and looks horrified at what he's done; he looks down at his own crotch and then the proverbial lightbulb metaphorically goes on over his head; fade to white… Cut to Bateman at work the next day, looking hungover.]

Goldblum [in voiceover]: You were so drunk last night!

Bateman: I don't remember any of that.

Text Onscreen: Seven years later.

[Bateman is walking outside in the rain, to show how miserable his life is. Cut to image of Grand Central Station in high-speed, to show how busy and repetitive his life is. Cut to image of Bateman looking out a window, to show how empty his life is. Cut to image of Bateman on cell phone, his face breaking into a smile.]

Aniston [in voicemail message]: Hey, Wally—guess what? We are moving back to New York!

[Cut to image of Aniston hugging Bateman in a restaurant.]

Aniston [in voiceover]: Sweetie, this is Uncle Wally.

Kid: Hi.

Bateman: Hi, Sebastian.

Kid: I think I have psychothymic (?) disorder.

Aniston: Okay, was I not clear about WebMD?

[Bateman looks at the kid and is all ZOMG. Cut to Bateman and kid at aquarium together, standing the same way. Cut to Bateman and kid walking down the street together, both covering their ears when a horn honks in traffic.]

Bateman [in voiceover]: There's all these similarities and coincidences.

[Cut to Bateman and kid on bus together. A female passenger observes, "He looks just like you." (Note: He does not look just like Jason Bateman.) Bateman has another ZOMG moment. Cut to Bateman talking to Goldblum in a kitchen.]

Bateman: You don't think that I could have switched Roland's…ingredient…for my… [makes some gesture that I guess we're meant to assume indicates sperm going in a vagina?]

Goldblum: Aye!

Bateman: I hijacked Cassie's pregnancy?!

Goldblum [laughing]: Ohhhh! That's ill advised!

Text Onscreen: This summer…

[Cut to Bateman and Goldblum in a clothing store; cut to Bateman and Aniston walking down the street together, with the kid, who's looking at them and obviously understands THEY ARE IN LOVE AND SHOULD BE TOGETHER.]

Goldblum [in voiceover]: I think the first order of business is telling Cassie.

[Cut to Bateman talking to Aniston in a gym.]

Bateman: I need to talk to you.

Aniston [ignoring Bateman and looking at kid, who's up on a rock wall]: What is he doing?

Kid: I'm scared!

Wilson: I got this!

Bateman [looking like he just smelled shit]: Roland's here.

Aniston: Come on. Be nice.

Text Onscreen: …comes the most unexpected comedy…

[Cut to high-speed scene of New York City traffic at night WHICH IS NOT AT ALL TRITE. Cut to Bateman and Goldblum in the clothing store again. Cut to Wilson cupping Bateman's neck in a bar, in a friendly way and Bateman looking unhappy about it.]

Bateman [in voiceover]: It's like a nightmare. He wants me to give him advice on how to be a better father to my son!

Text Onscreen: …ever conceived.

[Cut to scene of Aniston and Wilson at a coffee shop. Wilson is saying something and Aniston takes a drink of her coffee/tea/wev while hiding part of her face with the big cup and making "WTF" eyes.]

Bateman [in voiceover]: I think that this guy is a mistake.

[Cut to Bateman on the phone in his office, late at night; cut to Aniston standing at a pay phone.]

Aniston [on other end of phone]: Would you please not Wally this into a situation—

Bateman: Hang on. Did you just use my name as a verb?

Aniston: Yeah! I did.

[Cut to Bateman hanging out with kid in Central Park. Cut to Bateman and kid having a conversation on a couch.]

Bateman: We're going to be in each other's lives for a very long time.

Kid: Why, Uncle Wally?

Bateman: Because, um, you know, I, I'm, uh—

[Cut to Goldblum in a totally different scene.]

Goldblum: Crazies.

[Cut to Bateman and Wilson sitting at a bar, evidently observing Aniston from a distance.]

Wilson: She's the light of my life. She's my soul mate.

[Cut to Aniston on street in daytime hugging kid; Bateman watches and smiles. Cut to Bateman and Goldblum in clothing store again, which at this point I believe is probably called "Exposition for Men."]

Bateman [in voiceover]: I think that I have feelings for her.

Goldblum [sarcastically]: Really? You think so? It's only been, uh, thirteen years.

[Cut to Bateman looking meaningfully at Aniston. And Aniston looking meaningfully back at Bateman.]

Text Onscreen: Jennifer Aniston.

[Cut to scene of Aniston crawling on wrought-iron fence, looking in apartment window, where kid is watching TV. He turns away and ignores her.]

Aniston: Open the door. Right now. [to Bateman] Remind you of anybody?!

Text Onscreen: Jason Bateman.

[Cut to scene of Bateman and kid at aquarium.]

Bateman: I've had my bouts with hypochondria.

Kid: What's that?

Bateman: Thinking that you have diseases that you don't really have.

Kid: Oh my god. I have that.

[Cut to scene of Goldblum.]

Goldblum: Congratulations. You're—you're a father!

[Cut to scene of Bateman looking all "Zuh?" Cut to scene of Aniston looking all "Zuh?"]

Text Onscreen: THE SWITCH.

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