The most perfect movie to watch with the family during the holidays is one that everyone can love — one that’s broadly compelling enough to persuade everyone, from disaffected teens to grumpy grandparents, to put aside the drama and come together in mutual awe. Except that, second The most perfect movie to watch with the family might be the one that no one can truly hate. This is where Netflix is Switch family exists.
The body-swapping comedy is not so much good as it is completely harmless. Its characters are drawn in the broadest of lines, and its plot points unfold along beats that are starkly predictable, but too gentle to be annoying or offensive. If you’re just looking to fill a movie-shaped hole in your vacation plans, this might make it tolerable enough.
Sweet, harmless and completely forgettable.
release date: Thursday, November 30 (Netflix)
ejaculate: Jennifer Garner, Ed Helms, Emma Myers, Brady Noon, Bashir Saladin, Matthias Schweighofer, Zosha Roquemore, Rita Moreno
Screenwriters: Victoria Strauss and Adam Steckel, based on the book Bedtime for mom By Amy Cross Rosenthal
Rated PG, 1 hour and 44 minutes
At the heart of McG’s film are the Walkers, a group of upper-middle-class overachievers. Mom Jess (Jennifer Garner) is an accomplished architect who is about to become a partner in her big firm. Dad Bill (Ed Helms) is a rock musician turned great band teacher. Seventeen-year-old C.C. (Emma Myers) is such a talented soccer player that she has her sights set on the U.S. National Team, and Wyatt (Brady Noon) is such a STEM geek that he’s applying for early admission to Yale as a student. Ninth. Grader.
Despite all these blessings, they suffer from generational conflicts. Type A Jess and messy CC head into the latter’s career plans. Extroverted Bill and obsessive Wyatt have little in common, so much so that Bill jokes that he is not Wyatt’s real father. It would take a miracle to solve these seemingly simple quarrels, it seems, and that’s exactly what they get. Right before Jess’s big show, CC’s big match, Wyatt’s big college interview, and Bill’s big performance with his band Dad or Alive (Weezer appears as his bandmates), the walkers swap bodies through some gratuitous magic that somehow involves an Uber driver Who is played by Rita. Moreno.
It should be an attractive high-risk hypothesis, however Switch family He makes his soothing sensitivity clear long before any of the mysterious things happen. In the opening minutes of the film, Bill picks up part of a candy cane costume from a Christmas tree, slips on the puddle of dog urine under his feet and takes the entire tree with him as he falls. Despite Helms’ committed physicality, there’s a perfunctory quality to the whole nonsense. It sounds as much like an actual joke as it does an outline of the joke. But it’s good enough to warrant a small smile – perhaps more so for easily amused children or adults who enjoy watching Ed Helms fall flat on his face. However, the film moves on before the gag can wear out its welcome.
Once the characters do swap bodies, the fun of seeing them swap places is somewhat undermined by a screenplay (by Victoria Strouse and Adam Sztykiel) that doesn’t give any of them a distinct personality in the first place. The younger actors at least have the advantage of performers we already know, and Myers in particular brings out Garner’s superhuman good looks. By contrast, both Garner and Helms enjoy anything—including burping, farting, and vomiting—but all their enthusiastic muggings can’t hide the fact that CC and Wyatt are nothing more than your stereotypical grouchy teenager and stereotypical geek.
I only laughed out loud twice during the 100-minute film: once during a 13 going to 30 The reference provided a welcome glimpse of self-awareness from a film that shows no interest in trying anything new with its formula; And once during an argument about highways is recorded as the most authentic Angeleno moment in a story that includes multiple trips to the Griffith Observatory.
Needless to say, the characters surrounding the Walkers aren’t any better. Many of these small roles are filled with lively comedic talent like Paul Scheer, Pete Holmes, and Xosha Roquemore, but they also struggle to make much of an impression in such one-dimensional parts. This is one of those movies where none of the supporting characters seem to have anything beyond what the main characters need from them at any given moment — whether it’s the bully (Cyrus Arnold), whose feelings for Wyatt seem to spiral out of nowhere, or the co-worker (Elijah Isuriles Paulino ) who has nothing better to do than reassure Jess (really CC) that she’s a really great mother.
Perhaps this is not surprising then Switch familyThe emotional aspect of doesn’t hit hard either. At times, the screenplay hints gingerly at deeper pain. Jess is revealed to be concerned about CC’s soccer aspirations as it stems from her disappointing athletic career, and Bill is rumored to have given up the opportunity to be part of Green Day, Black Sabbath, or any other “band about color” to raise his family. Perhaps a braver film would have delved more deeply into the parents’ ambivalence about what they’d given up. But this person is practically allergic to conflict and difficulty, so he dismisses these thoughts in favor of reassuring clichés about the rewards and joys of parenthood.
It is the irony of this kindness that persistence makes Switch family Less warm than it looks like it should be. It’s simply hard to feel all that deeply for flat, bland characters who might as well be gingerbread people, solving problems that barely seemed to exist in the first place. But it also makes the film completely and utterly safe as background filler. There’s nothing here that risks sparking difficult or painful conversations, heading towards an unhappy ending, or pressuring viewers to choose a side while you’re just trying to crimp the last stretch of tape or untie the last string of lights. And once you don’t need it anymore, there’s nothing here that risks lingering in your memory for better or worse either.
. “Professional creator. Lifelong thinker. Reader. Beer buff. Troublemaker. Evil problem solver.”